Sunday, January 11, 2015

                                            A BRIEF GRAPHICS:  PRINT GLOSSARY

Prints are the result of a collaborative process between an artist and a skilled printmaker.  The artist creates an original image on a matrix (which may be made of copper, zinc, stone, woodblock, mesh screen, depending on the method to be used) and the printmaker directs the mechanical process of reproducing the original image through the application of ink and the use of a printing press. 

The distinguishing characteristic of prints is reproducibility; however, prints are not infinitely reproducible.  The surfaces upon which the original images are created are very sensitive and can be used for a limited number of runs.  Therefore, prints come in numbered editions.

The four basic/general genres of printmaking include; Intaglio, Relief Printing, Planographic and Digital.

Meaning to incise, relies upon the creation of an image through the carving of a metal plate. A few techniques are etching and aquatint. An aquatint is an etching process in which ink is made to bite both lines and tonal areas on a copper plate. An aquatint has an effect celebrating tone and is similar to a watercolor. An etching focuses more on line rather than tone. An etching is drawn/scratched in to a metal plate creating grooves to hold the ink.  The technique yields an elevated character to the lines, which is the signature trait of n etching.

Relief Printing
Relief printing requires the artist to use a negative technique to generate an image.  Instead of drawing what he/she wants to be inked or appear as dark, the artist cuts out what he does not want to be inked (what will appear as simply the paper or negative space). The principle relief techniques are woodcut, linocut and wood engraving.

Refers to printing methods in which the ink of the final print lies flat on the paper, not raised or impresses. Techniques include lithography and screen printing to name just two. Lithography yields images that tend to be more painterly and shares quality of colored pencil drawings, crayon or even pastel drawings. To make a screen print, an image has been cut out of paper or fabric and is attached to a piece of  tautly stretched mesh.  Paint is forced through the mesh (screen) onto a sheet of paper beneath using a squeegee.  The uncovered areas of the screen allow the paint to pass through onto the paper, while the areas covered by the compositional shapes are not.  For works with more than one color, a separate screen is used for each color, or the same screen must be washed and remade each time. Andy Warhol was the first artist to extensively use this technique.

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