a la poupee: A method used to ink separate parts of a single plate in different colors. The phrase derives from the doll-shaped bundle of fabric which is used to dab the ink of different colors into the grooves and dots recessed in the surface of a plate. In this method, the printer is painting the picture on the plate for each impression and effectively making each print unique in its coloring.
Aquatint: Aquatint was discovered in the mid-17th century and then mostly forgotten until the mid-18th century. The name aquatint reflects the fact that this method was capable of imitating the effect of a watercolor wash. Acid-resistant particles or ground are spread over specific areas of a metal plate. The particles are then heated so that each separate grain of resin or asphalt melts and sticks to the metal. When the plate is immersed in acid, the particles prevent bits of the surface from being eaten away by the acid. This achieves gradations of tone when a plate is inked similar to that achieved in the mezzotint process.
Asphaltum: A dark brown, transparent, bituminous oil color made by dissolving Asphalt in linseed oil; not a true pigment color. Asphaltum is soluble in oils and volatile solvents and melts at relatively low temperatures.
Biting: In etching, the corrosive effect of mordant (acid used for etching) on the metal plate when the plate is placed in a bath of acid. The extent of biting is controlled by the nature of the mordant and length of time the plate is left in the acid bath. After the plate has been left in the mordant, it may be removed, and the lines that are the faintest may be stopped out before the plate is placed back into the bath. The procedure is repeated, selectively producing successively deeper lines until the plate is etched to the artist's satisfaction.
Burin: The engraving tool, known as a burin, has a sharply pointed V-shaped section. The engraver holds it almost parallel with the plate before forcing the point into the surface of the copper and driving it in a direction away from himself to scoop out a sliver of metal. The result is a very steady and considered line, with crisp edges where the burin has cut through the plate.
Burr: As a burin digs into a plate, it throws up small shavings of metal, leaving behind a minute ridge, or BURR, on each side of the furrow.
Chiaroscuro: In drawing, painting and the graphic arts, the rendering of forms through a balanced contrast between pronounced light and dark areas. The technique is effective in creating an illusion of depth and space around the principal figures in a composition.
chine-colle: A thin China paper laid down on another sheet of paper for backing. Chine-colle is a method of adhering thin pieces of paper to larger printing paper at the same time that the inked image is printed.
Color Lithograph: A print is classified as a color lithograph if it uses multiple lithograph stones with different colored ink. The stones or plates must be drawn so that each separate color will print in correct juxtaposition to the other. The prints pulled from these stones must maintain the correct register throughout the printing process.
Counter Proof: A reverse impression taken from a print or drawing by passing it through an etching press with a sheet of damp paper. Some of the ink of the print or drawing is drawn off by and transferred to the damp paper, duplicating the original in mirror image.
Drypoint: Intaglio method in which a sharp needle is used to scratch a line onto a metal plate. The resultant burr of metal that is raised holds more ink than the incised line itself and gives the rich, velvety stroke characteristic of the technique. The plate wears out rapidly because the burr soon breaks off during printing.
Edition: The number of prints pulled from a plate, not including trial proofs, artist's proofs and other proofs outside the edition.
Embossing: A raised impression made by a metal or collage plate on dampened paper or similar material. Embossing is the technique of creating raised figures or designs in relief on a surface.
Engraving: The term engraving is used as a shorter designation for line engraving. In this process, the engraver first transfers the design in reverse to the plate and then incises the polished metal with a graver, or burin. The thickness of the furrows cut by the burin can be varied by manipulating the tool. The depth of the furrow is increased not by forcing the tool but by retracing shallow lines and the burin until the desired depth is achieved.
Etching: Intaglio method in which lines are incised in a metal plate by acid. The surface is covered with an acid-resistent ground that is scratched to expose the lines to the acid
Ground: In etching, an acid-resistant substance applied to the plate through which the design is drawn. Waxes, resins and asphaltum are among the materials used to make grounds.
Heliogravure: An intaglio print that is produced using a process which uses a light-sensitized acid-resisting ground when etched on a copper plate. A positive transparency is laid down on a copper plate coated with bitumen (or asphaltum) - a natural tar which is light sensitive when exposed in the sun - hence the name, heliogravure. The fine art method can reproduce a tonal image on a copper plate with total fidelity to the gradations in the image. The plate, when etched, is printed using intaglio processes on an etching press.
Intaglio: Intaglio is the method of printing in which ink is forced into incised lines or recessions on a plate, the surface wiped clean, dampened paper placed on top, and paper and plate run through an etching press to transfer the ink to the paper. Encompasses etching, engraving, aquatint, collagraph and other techniques.
Laid Paper: Laid paper is any paper that has a type of watermark that covers the whole sheet and consists of closely spaced parallel lines in one direction and heavier, more widely spaced lines perpendicular to them; these are the wide marks of the screen from the roll or mold on which the paper is made. Paper that is not laid is called wove paper; a wove finished is produced on a screen so tightly meshed that the wire marks are not visible.
Linoleum Cut: A sheet of linoleum is gouged or cut to produce an image or texture, then inked and printed by the relief or intaglio method.
Lithograph: A method of surface printing from stone. The design is neither cut in relief as in a woodcut nor engraved in intaglio as in line engraving, but simply drawn on the flat surface of a slab of special limestone known as lithographic stone.
Lithograph Stone: A lithographic stone is a thick, heavy, flat slab of limestone. The face of the stone is ground to a lightly grained surface to prepare it for being drawn on with lithographic crayon or tusche.
Mezzotint: An intaglio process in which the entire surface of a metal plate, usually copper, is rocked with a serrated tool to produce a roughened surface that, when inked, yields a rich black. Tone are produced with scrapers and burnishers. The areas to be white in the print are painstakingly rubbed with a burnisher and an engraver's scraper, which smooth and depress those areas so that they do not take the ink in relief printing.
Monotype: A monotype is a one-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet or slab of glass and transferring the still-wet painting to a sheet of paper held firmly on the glass by rubbing the back of the paper with a smooth implement. The painting may also be done on a polished metal plate, in which case it may be either printed by hand or transferred to paper by running the plate and paper through an etching press.
Plate: A matrix that holds the inked design in a variety of printmaking techniques. A thin sheet of metal that is engraved or etched so as to be printed from; the metals most commonly used for plates are steel, copper and zinc.
Plate Mark: A rectangular impression made on the paper by the embossing action of the etching press along the beveled edges of the plate.
Pochoir: A method of applying color through thin stencils of copper, brass or paper. Pochoir, as distinguished from ordinary stencil work, is a highly refined technique, skillfully executed in a specialized workshop.
Roulette: An engraving tool with a revolving head of hardened steel on which a dotted, lined or irregular pattern is incised; used in intaglio processes
Serigraph: Serigraph, screen print or silkscreen is a stencil process using a mesh that is stretched over a frame. Ink or paint films is forced through openings in the mesh, which can be blocked by a variety of methods.
Soft-ground Etching: In etching, acid-resistant coating containing petroleum jelly or tallow to prevent it from hardening when dry, so that textures can be impressed into it. It produces prints that have a softness of line and a grainy character suggestive of crayon strokes or of the grainy lines characteristic of a lithograph or a crayon-manner print.
State: A print is described as existing in a different state every time the block, plate or stone is in any way altered and is then used for further impressions.
Steel-facing: A nickel or chromium coating that is electroplated on the etched or engraved copper plates in in intaglio printing. Copper plates are so treated in order that they may be used to print larger editions. Contrary to what is implied by the term steel facing, nickel or chromium, not steel, is used for this purpose.
Sugar Lift: Sugar lift is an etching process in which a sugar lift composed of equal parts of sugar, water and ink is brushed on an etching plate, allowed to dry, then covered with a very thin coat of acid resist. The plate is left to soak in a bath of lukewarm water until the lift dissolves and exposes the plate. The sugar lift method is the most effective means of producing brushstrokes in an etching.
Tusche: A greasy drawing material used in lithography and screen printing. Tusche is a water-miscible black fluid that contains the greasy ingredients of lithographic crayon. It is used in lithography for drawing the design on the stone or plate with a brush or pen. Tusche is used to create effects that are less readily accomplished with crayon.
Watermark: Slightly thicker part of the paper maker's mold, usually in the form of a design or letter, that indicates the source of the paper.
Woodcut: Woodcuts are carved on the plank side of the wood, with the grain. Fine detail is difficult to achieve. Every part of the wood surface is removed except the lines of the image. When the block is completed, the image stands up as a level surface in relief.
Wood Engravings: Wood engravings are carved on the end grain of very hard wood. On the much more dense end grain a much more stable surface allows the driving of a graver through the wood creating a relief block, cutting away the non-printing areas, whereas the intaglio engraver scoops out the lines which will print. The graver is capable of thinner and more precise incisions than a knife, and the end grain can produce finer detail than the plank edge of wood.
Wove Paper: A wove finished paper is produced on a screen to tightly meshed that the wire marks are not visible on the paper.