Think Intaglio printing? Think: etchings, engraving, aquatint and mezzotints.

Intaglio, pron. in-ta-lio. 


David Larwill, 'Flying'


Take relief printing and invert it: where relief printing colours the page,  intaglio leaves the image blank. The process involves an artist carving into their plate and applying ink. The raised or untouched areas are wiped clean, so that when paper is pressed against the plate, only the indents transfer ink.

How artists employ intaglio techniques varies. Sometimes, artists use acid to bite into the plate (aquatint), while other times they manually scratch the plate’s surface (etching). Either way, where relief printing fosters boldness, intaglio printing allows nuance. Artists are able to produce gradation, texture and detail through dainty indentures. Intaglio printing also leaves a kind of border around the image where the rectangular plate was pressed against the plate.

Check out these intaglio prints if you like...

Distinctiveness. Because intaglio prints allow so much freedom, its fans are diverse. There’s the blissful figures of David Larwill's 'Flying' and Charles Blackman’s ‘Dancing Children – blue’: the former cast in black and white, the latter in celestial blues.


Printing Fun Fact:

Etching is thought to have been invented by a man called Daniel Hopfer, who used the technique to decorate his armour. How creative!