An educational resource based on the holdings of HKOP, covering the various techniques in Relief printing, Intaglio, Planography, Screenprint and Others.



Cyanotype printing, also known as “blue printing,” is an alternative photographic printing method that produces prints which have a brilliant blue color. Cyanotype printing is a surprising and mysterious process that depends on the color shifts produced by different ultraviolet light intensities and exposure times.
Cyanotype was not always a popular alternative photographic medium. It was originally invented in the 19th century by British scientist Sir John Herschel, who used it to make copies of notebooks and diagrams. Later, botanist Anna Atkins also experimented with cyanotype to record images of plants, which she bound into a book for sale.

Gum Bichromate Print

Gum bichromate printmaking (or gum printing) originated in the early 19th century. This was a time when pictorialism was popular, and many photographers enjoyed the delicate and soft tones that gum prints could create, which they felt could advance the status of photography as a true art form. Making a gum print is a complex process, as the artist needs to hand-mix a light-sensitive emulsion on paper, before exposing it to light through film, layer by layer. Even when photos are so easily taken nowadays by smartphones, there are still many artists who insist on dedicating their time and patience to experiment and advance the craft of this classic process.


Risograph printing (or riso in short) may seem like a new printing technology, but in fact the riso printer was produced in Japan as early as 1980. Back then, many schools owned a machine to print exam papers and circulars. Similar to silkscreen printing, only one colour could be printed at a time in the form of small dots. In recent years, riso printed zines or works often appear in art book exhibitions around the world as their unstable experimental colour stacking effects and unique ink colours can bring out nostalgic feelings.

Giclée Print

Giclée is the French word for “spray”, and it refers to high-resolution museum archival prints which are reproduced by inkjet printer on canvas or paper. Giclée is a type of digital fine art print that is commonly used by museums to create replicas, especially for photographic exhibitions. Giclée prints have excellent reproduction quality as they are rich with colour and detail, which not only enhances the quality of prints, but also allows more art lovers to collect artworks at an affordable price.

Monoprint & Monotype

The process of making a monoprint or monotype is relatively simple, and produces a unique print that cannot be reproduced. Although these processes currently share the same Chinese name, there is a significant difference between them. In monoprint printmaking, the printmaker will re-colour or change the matrix (such as partial wiping) each time it is printed, so that the matrix, at the end of printing, is not the same. On the other hand, the process of monotype printing instead relies on ink painted on metal, glass or plastic to create the “matrix,” which when printed, has a unique painting-like effect.