What is a relief print?

Relief printing refers to a traditional family of printmaking methods. While modern technology has meant that other types of printing are now used for practices such as book illustration and the printing press, relief printing is still popular amongst artists and encompasses mediums such as woodcut, linocut, metal cut and relief etching.

In the relief printing method, ink is applied to a printing block, but not to any recessed areas, and then the block is brought into contact with paper. The areas of the block that have ink will leave an imprint on the paper, but not the rest. To start the process, a flat original surface is taken and a shape is carved or etched into it. What remains of the original surface is what will be printed. The areas that are intended to be left white on the page are carved away. It is the opposite of intaglio printing, in which the lines created by cutting into the original surface are printed. Examples of types of relief printing include woodcut, linocut, metal cut and relief etching.

Artworks for Sale

Glossary of prints and editions