Effects Of The Printing Press

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The invention of the moveable type printing press had a dramatic effect on the way books were created. This mechanization of the bookmaking process also changed the way illustrations were added. Before the printing press, book were written and illustrated by hand, which could take up to several years to create a single volume. However, the change in technology allowed hundreds of volumes to be created in a few short weeks.
To take full advantage of this new advance in book creation, the techniques to create and include illustrations in written materials also needed to change. The first attempts at mechanization involved the woodcut, or an image carved into block of wood. The technique was in use in Europe for fifty years prior to Gutenberg’s
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2). Interestingly, the first printed books were no cheaper than a manuscript book, although, when printed books became cheaper, the quality of their illustrations fell (Bland, 1958, p. 101).
While the cost reduction of books may not be directly related to the quality of the images, the shortage of skilled artist to create printable illustrations may have had an effect. However, when the printing presses had eliminated the option for monks to be employed in the creation of books, the printed works had little competition, “printers could afford to be careless, and speedily began to avail themselves of their new license” (Pollard, 1893, p. 2). However, printers were still relying on miniaturists and others to draw anything that was not an easily printable black letter (Pollard, 1893, p. 3). It quickly grew apparent that this was not a sustainable solution to the problem. Printing presses would need to accomplish the tasks of printing in multiple colors and printing the block capitals, the same features as a manuscript book. Although one printer would utilize a new technique or approach to printing illustrations, the advance was sometimes abandoned for a period, only to be resumed by other printers at a later date (Pollard, 1893, p.
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10-12). This innovation was employed to stamp part or the entire image to be illustrated, primarily used to speed up the process of illustrating and coloring the borders in the books. However, not every copy of the books printed in this way was taken by its purchaser to be illustrated after purchase from the printer, as many remain unillustrated (Pollard, 1893, p. 12). There is no explanation as to why this ceased to be practiced; however, it may be that there was only one illuminator who requested that the printer use this technique and something happened to the

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