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Anna Toppin is a British artist who continues to work with traditional methods of graphic printing. Her decorative and often oriental designs create beautifully intricate prints which are reminiscent of the ancient Japanese woodblock technique, which drastically influenced Western art in the late 1800s.
Kyoto (2016) was made using the etching technique which reduces the sense of depth and allows the lines and treatment of light to be freer and more expressive.
Graphic prints exist as a subset of graphic design, with both art forms designed for visual communication through aesthetic and compositional choices.
Today, both processes commonly rely on technology, such as computers, scanners or editing software. However, graphic prints are intended to be printed on a tangible surface such as paper, whereas graphic design is often presented on a digital platform.
The letterpress was introduced by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-fifteenth century and combined the use of the printing press, oil-based inks, and cast metal type. The letterpress was commonly used for typography and was the first technology to allow the mass production and distribution of printed material.
Replacing the woodblock technique and process of hand copying print design, the letterpress remained the most efficient method of printing until the 1960s.
Despite the introduction of the letterpress, many artists continued to use traditional methods such as dry point, etching, lithography, or woodcut. These processes allowed artists to distribute their work to the public in the hopes of making a living.
One of the most well-known graphic print artists is Edvard Munch (1863-1944). His hand carving technique allowed for a raw expression of emotion. The printing technique further allowed artworks such as Madonna (1895 - 1902) to be printed multiple times with the varying applications of colour drastically altering the mood or atmosphere of the image.
Lithography was introduced at the end of the nineteenth century and was the first printing technique to permit the use of colour and ability to print on a larger scale. This process also allowed artists to create their own designs by drawing directly on to the stone, which was then transferred onto the surface of the paper.
With the invention of computers and programmes such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, graphic designers have an enormous amount of artistic freedom. Today, graphic prints are used for artworks, posters or flyers for example and exist all around us in our day to day lives.