Types of Prints
Fine art prints are original works of art that, because of the
method in which they are produced, can be made in multiples or
editions. The printmaker sets a limit for an edition, say 40
prints, so the print will retain its aesthetic and financial
value. Thus a print will have the edition number and the number of
that print on it, such as 10/40, meaning this is the 10th print in
an edition of 40. You will see some prints that have no number,
but an "AP," which stands for "artist's proof." These are most
highly valued by some collectors because they are the first
"final"prints that the printmaker pulls before starting the
numbering of an edition. After printing the 40 prints, the
printmaker will "strike" or mutilate the plate so no more prints
can be made. To confuse the matter, many people use the work
"print" as a label for such mass-produced pictures as posters and
reproductions of paintings and other original works of art. These
are not original works of art. With modern printing methods they
can be produced in the millions. Some of the more common methods
of printmaking follow.
A method of
creating tone or texture on an etching plate by means of rosin
dust or spray paint. Aquatints can be recognized by their use of
tonal values rather than line or tones built up by line.
An intaglio method using a hard steel or
diamond point needle to scratch an image into a copper, zinc or
soft steel plate. The burr raised gives drypoints their
characteristic quality when printed, but because it wears away
quickly, most drypoints are steelfaced.
Etching, drypoint, xlography are all varieties of the engraving
technique in which a sharp tool is used to incise lines into a
metal or wood plate. The lines that have been cut away are
printed, making this an intaglio method. In the wood engraving, it
is the surface remaining after material has been cut away that
prints the image.
An intaglio process in which a
metal plate is covered with an acid-resistant material before
being drawn on. Each mark made by the drawing tool removes the
material in the area incised, thus allowing acid to penetrate when
the plate is placed in the acid bath. These exposed areas will be
bitten by the acid to a depth dependent upon the length of time
they remain in the solution. The bitten areas, when inked, will
print, while the protected areas will not.
one of the printmaking methods in which the portions of the
surface of the plate are cut or bitten away, or in which portions
of the plate are built up or raised.
Linoleum cut, linocut
The technique of cutting an image for a print in linoleum
rather than wood or metal or other materials. As in woodcuts, it
is the raised surfaces remaining that accept the ink and are seen
in the completed print.
One of the major
printmaking techniques since its invention late in the 18th
century. A drawing is made with a greasy material on a stone (or
plate of various other substances). When the surface has been
treated in the appropriate way, the image (the greased portion)
will accept printing inks and the remaining areas repel it.
Impressions are printed by means of a litho press.
An intaglio process in which the entire surface of a plate
is roughened with a tool called a rocker to produce a black or
dark tone. The printmaker reveals the image desired by scraping
and burnishing away certain areas, working from the dark to light
A print in which two or more
printmaking techniques are used, i.e., woodcut and silkscreen.
One print, usually made by painting
or drawing in one of several colors, in any of a variety of media,
on a nonabsorbent surface. Paper laid over the surface and pressed
will accept a negative image, which is called monotype.
Serigraphy or silkscreen
Originally a stencil process
through a screen made of silk; today the screen is more frequently
made of nylon. Areas not to be printed are stopped up with paper
or glue or other material. The remaining areas allow the ink or
paint to pass through and print the image.
image is cut into a block of wood. The portions cut away will not
print, whereas the surface that remains will be inked and printed.