Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Works on Paper - Gallery Notes - Printmaking Links [MTSU]

Engraving, Etching, and Related Techniques - Lithography - Woodcut

Impression - State - Edition - Bon ˆ Tirer

Singular Impressions, The Monotype in America [National Museum of American Art]

Glossary of Printmaking Terms - [Cleveland Museum of Art] ---- Learn About Prints [International Fine Print Dealers Association]

Colorful Impressions - Techniques [National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC]

Printing - In View --- What is a Print?

A picture or design made (usually on paper) from an inked impression of an engraved metal plate, wooden block, etc. Prints are made by a great variety of processes, which are briefly classified here, and described more fully, with something of their history, in separate entries. These processes, or graphic techniques, fall into four main groups.

a. Relief Methods. In these, the parts of the wood block or metal plate which are to print black are left in relief and the remainder is cut away. The block is then rolled over with a stiff printing ink and, as the pressure required for printing is not great, impressions can be taken in an ordinary printing press or even by hand.

The principal relief methods are woodcut, wood engraving, and linocut. To these we may add certain techniques such as metal cut, mani*re cribl*e, and relief etching, in which metal plates are engraved and printed like woodcuts.

b. Intaglio Methods. In intaglio printing the principle is the reverse of that which operates in the relief methods, for the surface of the plate does not print, the ink being held only in the engraved furrows. The lines of the design are incised in a plate of copper or zinc; ink is rubbed into these lines and the surface of the metal wiped clean with a series of rags. A sheet of damp paper is laid on the plate, together with two or three thicknesses of felt blanket, and the whole run through a copper-plate press. This press, which consists of a bed-plate passing between two rollers, applies heavy pressure to the plate; the paper, backed by the blankets, is forced into the lines and picks up the ink that is in them, thus receiving an impression of the entire design.

The various ways in which the design may be incised in the metal plate constitute the different intaglio techniques. These techniqes are: line engraving, in which the design is engraved on the metal plate with a burin; drypoint, where the lines are drawn by scratching the plate with a strong steel needle; etching, soft-ground etching, and aquatint, where the designs are bitten into the plate by means of acid. In addition there are the defunct, or nearly defunct, reproductive processes of mezzotint, stipple, and crayon manner. Certain of the intaglio methods--mezzotint, aquatint, and stipple---have as their aim the production of a continuous tone; these are called the 'tone processes', though tonal effects may also be obtained by soft-ground etching and crayon manner. The various intaglio processes are frequently used in combination with one another on the same plate.

c. Surface or Planographic Methods. These are lithography and its variants. Lithographs are neither incised nor raised in relief, but are printed from a perfectly flat slab of limestone or from prepared metal plates. The process utilizes the antipathy of grease and water to separate areas which receive and areas which reject the printing ink.

d. Stencil Methods. The principle involved here is simply that of cutting a hole in a protecting sheet and brushing colour through the hole on to a surface beneath. Stencils have long been used for colouring prints in quantity and for fabric printing. The principal modern development is the silk-screen print or 'serigraph'.

Two processes which cannot be classified with the rest may be added, namely the monotrype, and the glass print or clichŽ verre , which is related to photography. The term print is also more loosely applied to reproductions of works of art made by photomechanical methods.

[Chilvers, Ian, Harold Osborne, and Dennis Farr, eds. Oxford Dictionary Of Art. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.]

Print v.t., [ME priente < OF: impression, print, n, use of fem, ptp. of preindre < L premere to press] 1. To cause to be reproduced or represented on a surface or surfaces through the transfer by [machinery] of ink, dry pigment, etc. 2. to cause [a material or surface] to receive a text, picture, or design reproduced or represented by such means . . . . 5. to indent or mark by pressing. 6. to produce or fix 9an indentation or mark0 as by pressure . . . . 7. to apply with pressure so as to leave an indentation or mark . . . . Photography. to produce apositive picture from 9a negative0 by the transmission of light . . . . 10. to write in characters such as are used in print . . . . - n. 19. an indentation, mark, etc. made by the pressure of one thing on another . . . . Textiles, a. A design or pattern on claoth made by dyeing, weaving or printing, as with engraved rollers . . . . 27. any photochemically reproduced image, as a blueprint . . . .

Imprint n, l. A mark made by pressure; a figure impressed or printed on something. 2. Any impression or impressed effect . . . .

[Urdang, Laurence, ed. Random House Dictionary of The English Language. New York: Random House, 1968.]

The Work Featured Above: 'Summer Morning' - c. 1830. Mezzotint. Made by David Lucus [British, 1802 - 1881]; Designed by John Constable [British, 1776 - 1837]. [Collection of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC]



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