• Painting and Stamping on various materials
Prior to any technological advancement, the earlier civilisations relied on painting on materials like leaves, Tree Bark, Fabric, Metal, Ceramic and Plaster of Paris. To make prints clay or wood carved seals and stamps were also used. Metal Stamps were even used for marking clay bricks and imprinting on animals. Stone sculpting was often used to illustrate the zeitgeist of the era and mythological stories on temple walls.
• Woodblock Printing
Woodblock printing is a technique originating in China for printing text, images or patterns on textiles and paper. The technique involves creating a ‘relief’ of the content onto a piece of wood by carving. The block is carved along the grain of the wood and ink is then evenly spread on the wooden surface. By pressing the flat material against the piece of inked wood, the image is then transferred onto the material. Earlier woodblock printing was used in India to print on textiles. Eg: Bagh Prints. Once paper was introduced, the technique further developed to print large sheets of paper using wooden blocks. For making coloured prints, different blocks are used, each with a different colour. Eg: Ajrak Prints.
Ajrak hand block printing. (Image source)
• Illustration as Fine Art (Handmade)
Drawing by hand is the oldest method of creating illustrations. What has evolved so far is mostly innovation of tools to help an artist draw. Highly trained fine artists are commissioned as illustrators to create innovative and original ideas for different mediums and bringing them closer to the masses. Owing to the influence of social media and growing demand for illustration skills, many independent illustrators today make their own artworks and self publish.
• Printing Press
A printing press is a mechanical device that transfers ink to paper in the form of print. It was invented in 1440 by a German goldsmith named Johannes Gutenberg. But printing technology did not reach India till about a hundred years of it’s invention.The first printing press in India reached Goa, in 1556, from Portugal, as requested by a goan clergy of Portuguese origin. For a long time printing was only used to publish bible in vernacular languages to spread missionary work. In 1568, the first illustrated cover page (the illustration being done with the relief technique of woodblock) was printed in Goa for the book Constituciones Do Arcebispado De Goa. Eventually printing lead to a language and literature revolution in the country as it spread from Goa to other parts of the country.
A print or ‘chaap’ is an impression of an object transferred from one surface to another. Printmaking is the art of creating printed images of original artwork. Due to the existence of different printing techniques printmaking can be artistically explored not just for duplicating artworks done in other mediums but also creating innovative artwork by using printmaking techniques as a tool for artistic expression.
• Relief Techniques - Woodcut, Linocut
Haren Das, wood-cut print. 1950. (Image source)
• Intaglio Techniques - Engraving, Drypoint, Mezzotint, Etching, Aquatint, Spit bite
Sanar Kar, wood Intaglio, 1978. (Image source)
• Stencil Techniques - Screenprint, Pochoir
Jyoti Bhatt, Screen-print. (Image source)
• Other Techniques - Photogravure, Lithography, Collagraph, Digital Prints
Somenath Hore, Lithography, 1977. (Image source)
• Digital Illustrations
The method of creating illustrated images using digital tools like computer and mouse along with a software interface is called digital representation technique, the result of which are digital illustrations also known as Computer Illustrations.
Softwares advancements: Microsoft paint 1985 > Corel draw1989 > Adobe Photoshop 1990 > Google Tilt pen 2016
Input tools advancements: Mouse 1964> Pen tablet 1983> Drawing tablets 1989> Google Tilt pen 2016
• Illustration in Craft
Kalamkari is the art of storytelling with hand painted and printed visuals on a large piece of cloth. These cloth pieces were carried around by groups of singers, musicians and painters called chitrakattis who moved village to village reciting the great stories of Hindu mythology. These performers would illustrate their accounts by painting it on the spot using simple tools and organic dyes. The Mughals patronised this art in Golconda, Andhra Pradesh and named the artists ‘qualamkars’ who created works of ‘kalamkari’.
Kalamkari artisan at work. (Image source)
Mithila painting (also known as Madhubani painting) is the art of painting on cloth, handmade paper and canvas, practiced in the Mithila region of India . Painting is done with simple tools , sometimes even fingers, twigs and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments. The graphic style is the most striking quality of these paintings as they are very peculiar in their simple yet painfully detailed geometric patterns and colours. Often depicting rituals such as birth, marriage and festivals and sometimes in moments from daily lives.
Madhubani Painting. (Image source)
Pattachitra is the art of scroll painting on cloth depicting mythological stories originating from Orissa.
Pattachitra artisan at work. (Image source)
Chamba rumal is the art of embroidered illustrations on a piece of cloth from Chamba, India. The illustration style is influenced by the pahari style of miniature painting. Silk threads are used on cloth to depict various scenes ranging from famous battles to wedding ceremonies.
Chamba Rumal. (Image source)