Print Definitions

Some print definitions. Certainly not a definitive list but we will add to this as the site grows. This should cover most print definitions for the most common types of prints. 

AQUATINT. An intaglio, etching and tonal process in which a porous ground allows acid to penetrate and form small dots in the plate, as well as the prints made by this process. Aquatints often resemble wash drawings. Any pure whites are usually stopped out defore the etching process begins, then the palest tints are bitten and stopped out, and so on as in an etching. The process is repeated until the darkest tones, or the deepest recesses in the plate are reached.

ART PRINT. Art print is a generic term generally describing a high quality off-set print, using varying grades of art paper as opposed to the much thinner and cheaper poster paper. Longer lasting than a poster, easier to handle and can be framed with or without the use of adhesives.

ARTIST'S PROOF (A/P).The Artist Proofs are part of an edition that is run before and after the original print edition is made. The prints are part of the artists private collection and are sold after the regular print edition is sold out. The edition is limited in number to 10-15% of the original edition. If a print run was for 200 then there are usually 20-30 Artists Proof prints. 

ENGRAVING. A method of cutting a design into a plate, usually metal, with a sharp tool called a graver. One of the INTAGLIO methods of making prints, in engraving, a print can be made by inking such an engraved plate. It may also refer to a print produced in this way.

ETCHING. An INTAGLIO printing process in which an etching needle is used to draw into a wax ground applied over a metal plate. The plate is then submerged in a series of acid baths, each biting into the metal surface only where unprotected by the wax ground. The ground is removed, ink is forced into the etched depressions, the unetched surfaces wiped,and then an impression is printed.

GICLÉE. Giclée (zhee-clay) is a French term meaning “spray of ink”. Eastbourne Fine Arts' Giclée's are digital, Museum quality archival editions. They are not an original print in the traditional sense, but a finer quality is achieved rendering deep saturated colours that have painterly quality, and show every minute detail, all subtle tints, blends and melds. The prints are often hand embellished by the artist.

The production of a giclée print is not an automatic process. The human hand is an integral part of every step of the giclée process. The quality of print depends almost entirely in human involvement and craftsmanship.

For many Giclée has surpassed Silk Screen or Serigraphs as a medium for producing editions.

INTAGLIO. The collective term used for several processes in which prints are made from ink trapped in the grooves in an incised metal plate. Engravings and etchings are the most common examples.

LITHOGRAPHY. In graphic arts, a method of printing from a prepared flat stone or metal plate. A drawing is made on the stone or metal plate with a greasy crayon of tushe, and then it is washed with water. When ink is applied it sticks to the greasy drawing, but runs off the wet surface allowing a print to be made of the drawing. The artist or printmaker then covers the plate with a sheet of paper and runs both through a press under pressure. Separate drawings and plates are made for each colour.

POSTER. While not technically a PRINT DEFINITION a Poster is a very generic term often describing a more affordable version of an “Art Print” printed on thin, inexpensive paper, ideal for children, teenagers and situations where tastes change regularly. Often showing typography as a part of the image. Also used in advertising.

SERIGRAPH OR SILKSCREEN. A stencil process in printmaking when an image is imposed on a screen of silk or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance, and ink is forced through the mesh and onto the printing surface. Also referred to as SERIGRAPHY and SCREEN-PRINTING. Also a print definition for any print made by this process.

WOODCUT. A print made by cutting a design in the side grain of a block of wood, also called a woodblock print. The ink is transferred from the raised surfaces to paper.

WOOD ENGRAVING. A print similar to woodcut in that it is made by cutting a design into a block of wood, however unlike a woodcut, the artist cuts the design into the end grain of a hardwood rather than the side grain of a soft wood. The print's design is therefore able to be more intricate than the normal woodcut.

There are many more PRINT DEFINITIONS with greater detail. Additions to follow.