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There is always more to learn in the art world! Here's help from Fine Art Shack Gallery!
Learn More about Fine Art Terms and Processes

Aquatint - An etching technique in which granulated resin or other substance is applied to a metal plate, heated, and etched with acid.  The resulting pitted surface yields a broad range of tonal values that often resemble a watercolor or wash drawing.

Artist Proof or A/P - Common practice is that 10 to 15 percent of an edition is reserved for the artist.  In addition to the regular numbered edition, the artist usually selects a specified number of inventory for either his or her own uses, for a museum, or as the artist chooses.  These proofs may be designated as artistís proofs (AP, or EP in French and PA in Spanish.)  Print marking example; A/P 1/100 is the first print of an edition of 100 Artist Proof impressions.  By art market standards Artist Proofs usually rank higher in value to S/N's of an edition.

Certificate of Authenticity - A document issued with limited edition prints, with the print publisher information, title of the image, size of the image, reproduction media or method, and number of the prints in the edition.  Some artists include a  statement about the work or individual piece of art.

Collograph - An intaglio print made from a plate of board on which three-dimensional objects have been attached as in a collage.

Drypoint - A particular kind of engraving technique in which a design is scratched or etched heavily as possible into a fairly soft copper plate with a sharp instrument.  Various kinds of instruments have been used over the years to achieve this effect.  Soft, velvety type lines can be created by the use of tools along with other various more subtle effects depending upon the amount of pressure applied within the process.

Engraving - An intaglio technique in which design is cut into a copper plate with a cutting tool called burin.  The final effect is said to be "engraved".  Social and wedding invitations are still often engraved though it is a printing process which is higher in price most the time.

Etching - A sharp needle is used to draw a design on a metal plate that has been coated with an acid-resistant substance(ground).   The plate is then put into an acid bath, and the exposed parts are etched (eaten away), producing sunken lines.  In printing, the ink settles in the sunken areas and the plate is wiped clean.   After this process, the plate is covered with damp paper and passed through a roller press, forcing the paper in the sunken area to receive the ink.

Giclee Print - A fine art print that has become more precise with the advent of the revolutionary printing process Giclee (ghee-clay) a French term meaning "spray of ink."  In the Giclee process, a fine stream of ink (more than four millions droplets per second) is sprayed onto archival art paper or canvas.  Each piece of paper or canvas is carefully hand mounted onto a drum which rotates during printing.  Exact calculation of hue, value and density direct the ink from four nozzles. This produces a combination of 512 chromatic changes (with over three million colors possible) of highly saturated, non-toxic water-based ink.  Since no screens are used in Giclee printing, the prints have a higher resolution than lithographs and the dynamic color range is greater than serigraphs.

Hors de Commerce or H/C - Hors de Commerce (Not for trade) traditionally were the graphics pulled with the regular edition but marked by the artist for business use only.  These graphics were used for entering shows, exhibits, samples, etc.  Today, however, since people began to acquire and collect them, these graphics now generally find their way to the market place through regular channels and are sold.  Print marking example; H/C 1/10

Limited Edition Prints or L/E - A pre-determined number of identical prints of an image are produced from a master plate, stone, or other method, after which no more impressions are allowed.  The edition size is the sum of all numbered pieces and proofs.  The prints are then signed by the artist, sometimes titled,and sequentially numbered showing both the print's number and the total edition size.  Each print is referred to as a "limited edition print".  The original print plates are typically destroyed after the production of the reproduction is completed.

Linocut - A relief print made from a sheet of linoleum into which a design has been cut with knives or burins.  Similar to woodcut, the linoleum allows a greater variety and range of effects because it can be worked more easily.

Lithograph - A print produced by a printing process in which the artist draws, usually with a waxy crayon, directly on a flat stone or specially prepared metal plate (sheet zinc or aluminum).  The stone or plate are treated to retain ink while the non-image areas are treated to repel ink.

Medium - Medium means the material or technical means of the way a piece of art is produced.  Kinds of mediums include oils, watercolors, acrylics, ink, pencil and charcoal, to name a few.  Reproduction medium types which involve reproduction methods are lithography, offset lithography, silkscreen, serigraphy and giclees.  Mixed media is the use of two or more materials during the artistic process or within the reproduction of an art piece.

Mezzotint - An engraving technique in which a metal plate is first roughened so that it will produce a dark tone.  The design is then worked into the plate from dark to light by scraping down the roughened areas to produce the design.

Monotype or Monoprint - A technique in which a drawing is made with ink on a smooth surface such as glass or metal and then printed onto paper by hand or with a press.  Usually only a single print is produced, although a "ghost image" (a second strike from the same inked plate) may be produced.

Mono-Original - An original image of any medium that is recreated in likeness more than once.

Offset Lithograph - A mechanical printing process used to reproduce an image within a kind of photographic process.  The most current printing methods in the art world are computerized or printed electronically.  This older process uses a computer, tedious typesetting, and page-design software along with optical scanners for reproduction of an art piece.  Most commercial reproductions are created using this process.

Original Graphics - An artist working in a printmaking medium, such as etching creates a Predetermined number of images.  Lithography and serigraphy. Original graphics are produced on a master plate, stone, or screen one at a time using a graphic press.

Printers Proof or P/P - Common practice by many printers print a small number of impressions or prints which are made for reviewing by the artist his or her publishers, or even galleries for approval at printing time.  Proofing time may vary depending on the various reproduction methods which are used. Offset lithographs usually have a larger number of proofs since they are produced fairly rapidly through the technical process that involves an offset press.  Proofs are sometimes marketed and are actually identical impressions to the final print that is ultimately done in larger numbers.   Print markings for example will show "P/P 1/100".  That refers to the first print of an edition of 100 Printers Proofs.  Most the time Printers Proofs are higher priced and worth more in value to S/N's or A/P's of an edition.

Rag Paper - One hundred percent rag paper are constructed of cotton fibers.   Often considered museum or what one might has as "archival quality".   Watercolor paper and most final print paper further help to describe examples of archival rag type.

Remarque or RE or rem - Many artists are now beginning to put a small personalized signature depiction or even a small drawing in the margin of their prints.  The small image is sometimes found in pencil, hand done by the artist or it can be found in color, such as with colored pens.  Using one of these images, is referred to using a Remarque.  Because they take extra effort on the part of the artist signing the piece, the first print of an edition of Remarques usually are more costly compared to S/N's, A/P's or other attributes of an art print edition.  A "RE 1/25" for example, on a print would refer to the first printing of 25 Remarques.

Serigraph or Silkscreen - Within a silk-screen process, a tightly stretched screen, most often of silk fabric on it is readied.  Then the process involves blocking out areas that will be printed by filling mesh on the screen with a paint or varnish type application.  Then paper is put under the screen, and the ink or varnish is pushed through the mesh onto the paper with various methods, most often a squeegee.  In it's own way, the print becomes a type of stencil used together to create a multi-colored final print.  Oriental artists have done silk-screening for many years and in more recent years more modern artists have enjoyed this medium.  Serigraphs are hand pulled art, where as a s silk-screen is being even more refined in new automated printing processes.  Even some T-shirt artists do silk-screens.

Signed and Numbered or S/N - Prints that are signed or authenticated with the artists signature, the total number of impressions in the edition, and the order in which impression is signed.  The artist pencils in his signature and a number on the bottom of the print.  Most the time artists choose to use a pencil on reproduction images because it does not degrade of grossly effect paper in years to come.  The number appears as a fraction.  For example, "L/E 5/1500, means one is viewing the fifth print of a limited edition of 1500 total prints.

Sold - Sold Out - When a limited edition is no longer available it is termed Sold Out.  When an image sells out it usually will begin to appreciate in value depending upon resale or trade in the secondary market.  When an original is Sold it is listed in the collection of its original owner and sometimes following owners depending upon the age and worth of the art piece.

Woodcut or Wood Engraving - A relief technique in which a design is cut with knives, gouges, or chisels into planks of wood parallel to the wood grain.  Wood Engraving is a relief technique in which a design is cut with burins, gouges, or chisels into the end grain of a hard wood block.

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