Modern & Contemporary Art Techniques Glossary / ArtDrunk Ltd

An Etching Process in which tone is created by treating a plate with fine particles of acid resistant material ( like powder resin) and then placing the plate in an acid bath. The acid bites into the plate between the grains of resin and when printed, the mass of tiny spots produces a textured area with tonal effects similar to watercolor wash.

Artist's Proofs should be exactly the same as the edition in quality and image though they are outside the numbered edition. They are identified with "A.P." or "Artists Proof" on the impression. They are often retained by the artist or publisher.

The same as chop but stamped with ink on verso of the print. 

A literal translation from French Meaning "good to pull" and refers to the first print the artist decides to use for editioning.

When the edition is complete, the matrix - a block, plate, stone, mylar, or other - is effected, crossed out or otherwise "cancelled". An impression is then taken from this matrix, showing that the plate has been "cancelled". This ensures that no further uncancelled impressions can be pulled.

The trade name for silicon carbide, carborundum began its use in printmaking as an abrasive which was used in affacing lithographic stones. The Particles, when mixed together with glue can also be used to draw on a plate - sometimes creating a raised surface - which is then inked and printed with the ink being held in the spaces between the particles. The resulting prints are often textured due to the raised areas of the printing surface.

A scholarly catalogue which should include all the known works by an artist at the time of publication. Essential information by which works are identified is included.

An identifying mark embossed on a print to identify the workshop, printer or publisher.

Proofs of each separate color of a multicolor print.

This term may be used to annotate Trial Proofs, these proofs may be done using the same plates as in the edition but the color varies from that used in the edition.

The uneven edge on handmade paper or mould on paper.

Artists who create their works digitally or use digital manipulation in order to create a print may print them on computer using a large scale ink jet printer. The ink is dispersed by a sophisticated print head in a fine mist of minute droplets in order to deliver a continuos tone image. "Iris" prints are made using an ink jet printer manufactured by IRIS. These prints can be made using highly saturated, archival water based inks on a wide range of materials, from traditional art papers to fabrics and wood veneers. Epson printers use pigment-based archival inks rather than water based inks. The epson process is often used in projects that involve a combination of printing techniques.

Drawing on metal plate with a needle of hard steel, often with a diamond point. The "burr" that is formed along the edge of the line traps the link for a soft rich effect.

Total number of prints pulled from one image and represents the largest body of work for sale from that image. These prints are consecutively numbered to show that the edition is limited by publisher or artist.

A process used to create a raised surface or raised element, but printed without ink.

A method of drawing that employs a burin or graver to cut or incise on a metal plate.

An intaglio Process in which the lowered printing areas are bitten and etched by acid.

Illustration in a book opposite the title page.

Paper formed by a hand held mould or matrix.

A method of making a photo - etched or photogravure plate using an aquatint texture directly on the plate to create tone.

These prints are outside the full edition but are the same as the edition and are used as gifts or payments to those involved in the production of the edition.

A term applied to any work from a printing element.

A general term covering the printing process such as engraving, mezzotint, etching. Any process in which the image is cut, engraved or etched below the surface of the plate.

A Print Made by using a metal plate cut with an engraving tool.

A Relief Process in which the image is cut into the linoleum block. The printing surface being the raised portions of the block.

Crayons and pencils of a greasy substance used in drawing for lithography.

A process based on the natural repulsion between the grease and water. Image is drawn on stone, aluminum or zinc plates, or both with greasy drawing materials. The image is then chemically processed so that the drawn area accepts grease (ink) and the non - image area water. Unlike intaglio printing the image and non-image areas are both on the same plane or level.

The base from which the print is made. This can be anything - a standard metal plate or lithographic stone, a potato or vinyl record, a stencil - anything from which you print.

A printmaking process of the intaglio family, technically a drypoint method. It was the first tonal method to be used, enabling half-tones to be produced without using line- or dot-based techniques like hatching, cross-hatching or stipple.

A print which the image is made on a non-absorbent surface, such as glass or Plexiglass, drawn with ink or paint. The image is transferred to paper by rubbing the back of the paper on the plate with a rubbing tool or by hand. Only one print may be made by this method. Or any other method that makes only one impression.

A Planographic process in which the inked impression is taken from the plate and rubber covered cylinder which then transfers the image it has picked up to the paper.

(Photo engraving, photogravure, photo silkscreen, photolithography)
These processes all involve the use of light sensitive emulsion to transfer photographic images onto a plate or screen which are then processed for printing.

In intaglio prints the pressure of the press causes the plate to leave a mark of it's surface dimensions upon the paper.

A veil of ink intentionally left on the surface of the plate during printing which creates delicate areas of tone or shading.

A process used for hand coloring prints by using brushes or stencils or any
method the artist chooses.

This is an edition printed from a matrix after the death of the artist. It has usually been authorized by the artist's heirs or is the product of a publisher who previously purchased the matrix from the artist. It should be limited in some way (though not necessarily hand-numbered) or it becomes simply a limitless restrike. Posthumous editions of prints that were pencil signed in their original edition frequently bear stamped signatures authorized by the artist's heirs or the publisher.

Unlike paintings or drawings,prints generally exist in multiple examples. They are created by drawing a composition not directly on paper but on another surface, called a matrix, and then, by various techniques, printing that image on paper. Those techniques may involve the use of one or another kind of printing press and ink, or the image may be transferred by pressing the paper by hand onto the ink surface of the matrix and rubbing. Multiple impressions are made by printing new pieces of paper from the matrix in the same way. The total number of impressions an artist decides to make for any one image is called an edition. In modern times each impression in an edition is signed & numbered by the artist, but this is a relatively recent practice.

This impression is exactly like the edition and is the property of the printers responsible for the pulling of the edition.

Series of proofs taken to show each individual color plate and each combination of them culminating in the final complete version.

The person or entity who subsidizes and often initiates the making of a print edition or portfolio and who also disseminates the prints.

To print, to transfer the ink to paper.

The fibers that have been reduced and diluted with water to be form into paper.

Method of applying multi-color inks in bands or gradation on one roller to plate or stone.

Marks use by the printer to line up the paper with area to be printed.

A process of printing in which the non-printed areas have been cut away from a block or plate.

Drawings or experimental marks usually in the margins of the print, to be removed before the work is editioned. The prints with these marks are called Remarque Proofs.

The print or a whole edition pulled from formerly printed plates, blocks, stones, pr stencils after the original edition has been printed or cancelled. These prints should show a defacing mark to note that original edition has been cancelled.

The number below the line designates the total size of the edition, the upper number refers to the specific print from the total edition, i.e. 2/100, the second print pulled from the edition of 100.

A stencil process employing a frame on which silk or synthetic fabric is stretched. Stencils such as photo, hand drawn or hand cut are placed on the stretched fabric and act as a block out when the ink passes through the screen by means of a squeegee onto the paper, the non-stencil areas create the image.

An etching technique where a soft ground is laid on a metal plate. The artist draws onto a piece of paper which is laid down on top of the ground. The ground adheres to the paper where the pencil of other tool has pressed down into it through the paper and pulls away when the paper is lifted.

An impression taken from the plate at a particular moment or stage of development and distinguished from impressions taken at other times during that process. The final State is the state from which editions are generally pulled, although some artists pull several impressions in each state.

The alteration of an editioned image, plate, stone or stencil creating a new or related image. The new image may be printed in an edition with all impressions designated "state" I, II, III, IV, or more.

A print made by applying color to an etching plate by use of a metal or paper stencil before printing by rolling the color onto an inked plate.

Method of drawing in which artist works on a specially coated paper or surface other than the intended printing element. The Drawing is then transferred to metal or stone which is then processed for printing.

A proof that varies from the edition either in color, size, drawing, printing order, etc. these proofs are usually pulled before the artist has arrived at the final decision for the edition. These prints are usually unique impressions which may be retained by the artist and are not numbered in any manner.

WATERMARK The mark that paper makers form in their papers by sewing the design into the mold before the papermaking process. The watermark can be seen when held to the light as it is more translucent than the light.

A relief process in which the image is cut in a block of wood with tools such as knives, goughers or chisels. The image is inked with a roller, paper is applied to the surface and the back is then rubbed by hand or with a rubbing tool, transferring the image to the paper.

A relief process in which the image is cut into the end grain of a block of wood using engraving tools. This process produces a very fine white line.