"To see we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at." Claude Monet

Fine Art Printmaking
©2002 Nita Leland

This simple chart briefly describes some of the major techniques used in original fine-art printmaking of multiple copies. In each technique the artist is involved in creating the art on the printing surface and pulling and approving the prints, then signing and numbering the edition. Original prints are smaller editions than mass-produced reproductions because the surfaces used are subject to wear during the printing.

There are many fine books devoted to each technique, too many to list here. Search Google.com for more detailed references on specific techniques. Also read my article about the differences between prints and reproductions.

     LithographyRelief IntaglioSerigraph
Technique Smooth Plate woodcut; linoleum cut etching, engraving, aquatint, drypoint screen printing; cut stencil or photographic process
Surface flat stone; metal plates wood; linoleum copper, zinc, plastic nylon, silk, sheer fabric
Tools lithography crayon; tusche; litho ink knives, gouges, burins, printing ink burins, acids, needles, printing ink screen, masking film, glue, tusche, printing ink
Press litho press letter press; hand-rubbing with baren or back of spoon etching press squeegee pulled across screen
Type of Print flat surface, reversed image raised surface, reversed image cut-out areas, reversed image open areas on the screen
Type of Line grainy; pen or brush coarse; depends on cut variable brush, pen, crayon
Value Range complete from gray to black no shading wide range with spacing of lines complete
Texture applied to stone before drawing wood grain scratched into plate textured mask; fabric screen

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