Relief printing

The relief printing process is a family of printing methods where a printing block, plate, or matrix that has had ink applied to its surface, but not to any recessed areas, is brought into contact with the paper. The relief is the positive image and represents the printing surface. The areas of the printing plate with ink will leave ink on the paper, whereas the recessed areas of the printing plate will leave the paper ink-free.

The most familiar relief-printing materials are wood and linoleum, but many other materials can be used, such as aluminum, magnesium, and plastics. A printing press may not be needed, as the back of the paper can be rubbed or pressed by hand with a simple tool such as a brayer or roller. Relief techniques include woodcut or woodblock as the Asian forms are usually known, wood engravinglinocut, and metal cut.

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