History of Printing and Printmaking in the Philippines
Printmaking is the process of printing artworks on various media,
including paper, woodblock, and copper plate. There are four basic
methods in printmaking, namely: relief, intaglio, surface, and stencil
prints. These processes can be utilized individually or in conjunction
with each other. The technical prowess and innate talent of an artist
is required in printmaking, a complicated process involving use of
various tools, chemicals, and other materials.
Images produced through printmaking are called fine prints. These
are produced in limited quantities, and can be categorized as original
prints, reproductions, limited editions, artist’s proofs, fine-proofs, trial
proofs, and facsimiles. Fine prints made through manual processes
are of higher value than those done through photochemical methods.
What is the difference between printing and printmaking? Printing is
the general process of producing print materials—putting words and
photographs onto paper—using a printer, printing press, or other printing
devices. Printmaking is the specific act of producing artworks on print
materials. Printing can be done by anyone, from a publisher printing
newspapers to a student printing homework at home. Printmaking can
only be done by an artist of considerable skill and talent.
In today’s age of computers and high-quality on-demand printing,
the fine art of traditional printmaking in the Philippines faces new
challenges. How does one tell the difference between a handmade print
and a photographic reproduction? And how does the art community
educate Filipinos on the value of fine prints today? This following brief
timeline of printmaking in the Philippines is a simple introduction to the
art and process of fine prints.
The first three books printed in the Philippines
mark the beginning of printmaking in the
Doctrina Christiana en lengua
españa y tagala
Doctrina Christiana en letra
y lengua china
Wu-chi t’ien-chu cheng-
chiao chen-chuan shih-lu
, are printed to spread
the Christian faith among the inhabitants of the
archipelago. These early books on Christianity
were woodblock prints.
Images of Jesuits and saints printed using
the woodblock method are distributed in
The first typographic press is constructed
by Chinese convert Juan de Vera.
de Nuestra Señora del Rosario
, written by
Father Francisco Blancas de San Jose, is
the first typographically printed book in the
Filipino printmaker Tomas Pinpin prints his
Librong pag-aaralan nang manga
tagalog sa uicang Castila
His woodcut, the
Escutcheon of the
, is the earliest known print
made by a Filipino. It serves as the cover
Arte y Regles de la Lengua Tagala
Father San Jose, also printed by Pinpin.
Printmakers hired by the Augustinian
Antonio Damba and Miguel Saixo co-publish
Relacion de el martyrio de S.F.
Hernando de S. Joseph en Japon
orders in the archipelago acquire printing