Historical Book Arts Collection


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Habiti antichi, et moderni di tutto il mondo
Habiti antichi, et moderni di tutto il mondo

There are many different techniques of putting illustrations in books. Here we are confining ourselves to the direct printing of the image from a plate, block or stone. Other methods will be dealt with in other essays. Directly printed illustrations found in books can be put into three basic categories: Relief, Intaglio and Planographic. Relief prints are characterized by the cutting away of the parts of the block not being printed, leaving the image standing in relief. These relief blocks look similar to today's rubber stamps and are, in fact, their ancestor. The relief parts of the block are inked and then printed. This printing process may use a press but can also be printed with a brayer, spoon or hand pressure. In Intaglio the image is cut into the surface of the plate, often copper, creating a trough to hold ink. A special intaglio or etching press is required to print these images. Planographic images are printed form the plane surface of a specially prepared limestone. The principle of the process is that oil and water doo not mix.

More information can be found in the Illustration Techniques essay.

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