Planographic printing is now the most commonly used of the three basic printmaking techniques. Lithography – 'stone drawing' - is the original planographic technique, having been devised in Germany in 1798 by Aloys Senefelder. Lithography is a favourite technique amongst artists because the image is created using drawing and painting techniques directly on to a lithographic stone or metal plate rather than on to paper or canvas. It has been described as 'feeling as natural as drawing on paper'. The easiest method to create a lithographic print is to make an image with greasy ink onto a specially treated stone or metal plate. The plate is dampened with water, more greasy ink is rolled onto it which, repelled by the water, only sticks to the image the artist has made with the greasy ink. Paper is then laid onto the surface and the image is transferred. Most contemporary lithography takes the image from the plate onto a roller from which it is then transferred to paper. Screen-printing is a planographic technique but is different to all printmaking techniques because the printed image does not come from pressing one surface into another. Instead, the image is created by applying stencils to a silk or cotton mesh – the screen - often giving the final piece a look not dissimilar to collage. The printing ink is applied through the exposed areas of the mesh screen onto the printing surface. Photo-stencils enable printmakers to use photographs in their prints, as seen in the work of Eduardo Paolozzi. Screen-printing became a major technique used by Pop artists in the 1960s, who embraced it experimentally and were inspired by its use in the commercial printing of graphics, ceramics and textile design.

image: Metallisation of a Dream: Unique Colour Combination, screenprint, by Eduardo Paolozzi [Mb4888]