paints have three ingredients, the colour agent or pigment
that is dispersed in
a liquid medium or vehicle. This vehicle is made up of a
binding agent and a thinning
agent. In oil paint, the binding agent is linseed oil and
the thinning agent
is turpentine. In watercolour the binding agent is gum
arabic (glue from an acacia
tree) and the thinning agent is water. All high quality
artist paints use the best
pigments (colours) available. In artist supplies there are
different qualities available
ranging from student grade to professional grade. The most
is in the longevity of the materials used.
PAPERS - are
the highest quality papers available to artists and printer today.
The term rag is used to describe papers actually made from
linen or cotton
fibers, generally the thicker the better. These papers have
a neutral pH.....
- is the term used to describe specially
manufactured papers that do not contain any acidity and are
considered pH neutral. Now, almost all rag papers are
acid-free: but not all acid-free papers are made from
rag. You can have a paper made from wood fibers that
has had its acidity neutralized with calcium carbonate, to
make it pH neutral. Acid-free papers have a higher
resistance to mold growth, characterized by dull rusty spots
known as foxing.
PAPERS - refers to any paper made for
printing. The highest quality papers are acid-free and
made from rag.
PAPERS - These papers are made for the lithography
printing industry and are coated with a very thin layer of
clay. The clay prevents the printing inks from soaking
into the paper, making the colours more vibrant. Most of
the papers used today for the limited edition reproduction
market are coated papers and most of these are made from wood fibers
that have been pH neutralized or called acid-free.
- All paper
manufacturers have their own watermark or design that is molded
into the paper surface as the time of production. This can
be seen as a relief design along the edge of the paper
REPRODUCTION - Simply put, are prints reproduced photo mechanically
from original works of art, conceived by an artist in another
medium. Originally large room size cameras were used to
photograph the artwork. In the 80's laser scanners came
into wide use to photograph the artwork digitally. The
light reflected off the artwork is broken down into 4 colours -
blue, yellow, red and black. Representing each colour is a
separate piece of film negative, from which four aluminum plates
are made. These plates are put onto a large press for
printing (See Lithograph). This process is called offset
lithography because of the transference of the printed image to
a rubber blanket or roller, before the image is printed onto
SEPARATIONS - are the 4 pieces of film negatives used in
the production of making the photomechanical printing plates
TONE - the light that the scanner sees to make these 4
separate films, is broken down to make what is called a halftone
dot. This dot along with another few millions of coloured
dots is what makes up the printed image (see photo
EDITIONS - are reproduction prints produced in the
method described above. The image of each print in the
edition is identical. The total number of images approved
by the artist in the edition is indicated by the artist's
signature and by writing the number of each reproduction;
followed by the total number of prints in the particular
edition. An example would be 27/375, and is generally done
in pencil, this is called signed and numbering. This
method of numbering applies to the original print as well.
- is the newest form of limited edition reproductions on
the market today. The image is made usually using inkjets
to spray the ink onto printing or watercolour paper to make to
make the image. The original artwork or photographic copy
of artwork is outputted directly onto the printing paper,
without going through the film colour separation process as in
the photo reproductions. This method has really improved
in the short time of its use. Some printed images are so
good it is hard to tell from the original, particularly when
printed onto watercolour paper. This could be a problem
down the road on the secondary market unless a way is found to
distinguish the print from the original. Maybe and
embossed image in the image would make it less confusing.
No matter how good or how many images are produced, it is still
a copy (reproduction) of the original and should be treated
TRANSFER - is a laminated process of transferring a
printed image onto canvas using heat and pressure. A
reproduction on paper is used to laminate onto the canvas
surface using a sealer and is pressed into the canvas. The
resulting image looks like it was painted on the canvas and is
hard to tell from an original, unless labeled. It is a
time consuming and an expensive process, but is still just a
reproduction of the original.
EDITION - is an unlimited series of prints without the
typical numbering seen on a limited edition. This term
applies to both original prints and the reproduction. Most
open editions are not signed by the artist and command a lower
EDITION - The number of prints in this kind of edition
is determined by the number of orders received by a certain
date. This final number can be very high, even into the
tens of thousands. As far as I am concerned it is no more
than an expensive poster.
- a numbered print is designed to show the limit or size
of a printed edition (see limited edition). Lower numbers
used to mean the first prints where sharper than the later, in
original prints this is true (see drypoint), but with modern
printing techniques, as in reproductions , the last print should
be as sharp as the first off the press.
SIGNATURE - it is customary for artists to sign their
prints in pencil. The signature has come to stand for a
guarantee of good workmanship, or stamp of quality and
authenticity of the printed image. Some artists sign in
the printed image, but most sign on the border.
IN THE PLATED - refers to the artist's
"printed" signature as it appears in the original work
or plate. It is not the same as the artist's hand
signature in pencil on the margin of the print.
PROOF - Applies more today to the reproduction than the
original print. They are chosen from the regular edition
printing run and are the artist option. For me, it's a way
to saying thanks to the people involved in printing my
reproductions. I give one to each person and I keep one
for myself. Abbreviated by P/P, which appears on the
OUT - is when a print edition is completely sold out and
is no longer available at the issue price (the price first
offered at retail). The print is now only available from
someone who already owns it and this is called the secondary
-COLOURED - or hand tinted means adding colour to an
already printed image. This is mostly done with the
original print but it can also be applied to the reproduction
print. Watercolour is the choice of most artists but
anything that will not harm the paper can be used.
PLATED - is when a printing plate or block has been
defaced to make it impossible to print any additional images.
OF AUTHENTICITY - is a printed document generally fixed
to the back of framed reproductions and original prints that
states the image is genuine, along with other pertinent
information such as the size of edition, print number, etc.
- Oil paint was well developed by the mid sixteenth
century. Oil has great flexibility, dries slowly and can
be used to build up texture. Oil paintings, if painted on
good canvas or board, do not require glass. The thinning
agent is turpentine and the binding agent is linseed oil.
Most oil paintings appear glossy when dry. Oil glazes can
be used to build optical effects, but white paint is mostly used
to build the lights.
- is made from synthetic resins called polymers colours.
These colours are thinned with water and dry fast to become a
tough, flexible film. By using the appropriate mediums the
surface can be made mat, semi-mat or glossy, most acrylics do
not require glass unless painted onto paper. Acrylics can
be painted to look like oil or used in the wash technique of
- has been used n different forms for thousands of
years. It used gum arabic as a binding agent and water to
think the colours. Mostly painted on paper, the best
quality being made from linen fibers. Watercolour papers
have three basic surface textures - hot-pressed (smooth),
cold-pressed (medium) and cold-pressed (rough). The
traditional technique is to use transparent washes (glazes) over
one another to build optical effects, using the white of the
paper for the lights: white paint is seldom used.
Watercolours should always be framed with glass.
- is opaque watercolour. It is a painting medium
like watercolour, but with the addition of white pigment to
produce a more opaque paint. The same papers are used as
in watercolour and gouache requires glass for protection.
- dates back about two hundred years and was mainly used in
portraiture. It is a form of drawing/painting using pure
colour without a medium. Pastel crayons come in three
grades, soft, medium and hard. they are made using colour
pigment with a binding medium, pressed in molds to form sticks
or crayons. The paper used should be that of linen qua;ity
and has a texture to hold pastel. All pastels should be
framed under glass. Oil pastel is the same as above, but
with the addition of linseed oil.
TEMPERA - is a form of painting using egg yoke as
the binding agent for the pigment and water as the thinning
agent for the paint. Tempera dates back hundreds of years
to before oil painting was invented. Leonardo de Vinci's,
'last Supper" and Michelangelo's "Sistine Chapel"
comes to mind. The traditional technique is to paint in
light cross hatching strokes to build up the image. A more
modern method is to glaze many layers of colour one over the
other to create an optical effects. The painting surface
should appear fairly smooth. Presses-wood board 9Masonite)
is mostly used with a smooth absorbent gesso surface, as the
painting support. The painting will tae up to 9 months to
cure but becomes quite tough after curing and it is not
necessary to frame with glass.
- India ink is mostly used today to produce ink drawings
and is very permanent, if not put on too thickly. it comes
as waterproof ink and as soluble ink. Ink drawings are
mostly done with pen but can be thinned with water and used with
a brush; coloured drawing inks are not as stable and will fade
over time, as do all felt-tip markers. Ink can be used on
paper or board and should be glassed when framed.
- The modern drawing pencil is made from graphite mixed
with clay to lighten and harden the lead. The softest
varieties contain little or no clay. Graphite is a form of
carbon and is very stable. The paper used is usually
smooth or has little texture. Here again, the art is only
as good as the paper it has been done on. Drawings should
be framed using glass.
- drawings are done using a silver wire sharpened to a
point and put into a hand holder for drawing. The drawing
surface can be a panel, smooth watercolour or drawing paper
coated with a thin layer of "Chinese white"
watercolour paint. Over time the drawing will tarnish to a
wonderful patina effect. Gold and platinum can also be
used but will not tarnish. Glass should be used in framing
if done on paper.
PRINT - is a work of art that has been created
specifically for the printing medium. The original image
is hand-done onto a metal plate; stone block, wooden block or
screen. This image is then printed directly from the
original image, by the artist or a technician, onto good quality
paper. Often many passes through the press is necessary if
more then one colour is to be used to complete the final printed
image. The edition size is usually low in number and each
printed image is considered unique. When the artist makes
an impression, it is called pulling a proof, this is where the
term artist's proof came from. In producing the original
print, the artist must be highly skilled in his understanding of
the methods employed and the printing process can take weeks to
months to pull the entire edition.
- refers to the printing plate (copper, zinc, steel) and
other materials from which printed impressions and images are
LITHOGRAPH - is a process of printing from a flat
stone. The artist draws the image with a grease pencil or
other methods on to a stone surface, then water and printing ink
are successively applied; the greasy drawing repels water but
absorbs the ink. The wet stone repels ink and prints clean
but the greasy drawing prints the image. With the stone
inked, paper is carefully placed on the stone and pressed
together through a press transferring the image to paper.
For each colour, a different stone is used. this process s
done by hand for the original print.
- is really a general term. There are two types:
an offset lithograph print, and an original lithograph print,
which are described above. In offset lithography the image
is photographed and burned into a metal plate. This plate
is put into a press with ink coming from the press's
rollers. When paper is passed through the press the image
is transferred onto rubber rollers and then onto the
paper. This offset method is used today to print most
reproductions, full-colour books and magazines etc. (see photo
- is any technique in which an image is incised below
the surface of a printing plate. The hand-inked plate is
covered with damp printing paper and passed through a press
under great pressure, the ink is transferred onto the
paper. This includes etching, aquatint, mezzotint,
engraving and dry point.
- is an intaglio process (a sunken design) in which a
drawing is scratched through a resistant wax covering protecting
the metal plate. The plate is placed into an acid
solution, which eats into the now exposed surface. The
sunken areas hold the printing ink and when passed through a
press, with paper on top of the plate, the ink transfers onto
the paper making your image.
- an intaglio process - is used to make tonal variations
by dusting powdered rosin onto a metal plate, it is then heated
to adhere to the plated and etched in an acid-bath. This
technique produces a transparent, soft-effect resembling
- also intaglio process - is when texture is
produced all over a metal plate with what is called a
"rocker". By rubbing and burnishing the surface,
an image is created by smoothing this texture, therefore
creating graduations of light and shade on the plate.
Mezzotints are characterized by a rich, velvet overall
appearance to the resulting print.
- an intaglio process - is when lines are cut with a
sharp tool into a metal plate, and then filled with ink to
transfer onto paper to produce the image.
- intaglio process - is using a very sharp needle-like
tool to scratch a drawing into a polished metal (usually copper)
plate. The groove and burr that is produced, holds the ink
in the printing process to give a softer look to the printed
image. This burr brakes down very quickly when printed
under high pressure, resulting in a breakdown of the
image. the higher number of prints pulled the less
sharpness and ink will be on the print. Consequently, the
amount of prints is an edition is very low.
- is a relief printing method in which the image is
carved into the surface of a block of wood. The raised
portion of the wood is inked and passed through a press with
paper to produce the final print.
- is a work of art produced by the inking of any collage
of materials or objects that takes the form of a plate for
printing; also called relief printing.
- also called silkscreen printing - is a stenciling
method in which the image is transferred to paper by forcing
paint through a stretched screen of silk or polyester
fabric. The stencil can be hand-cut or photographically
prepared and is adhered to the screen. the paint goes
through the open areas where the stencil was cut away. A
new stencil must be cut for every colour printed.
PROOF - often abbreviated A/P and should not be
compromised of more prints than 10% of the edition.
Artist's proofs are not included in the numbering of the regular
edition and are the artist's option. In today's limited
edition reproductions, the artist's proof is printed at the same
time as the whole edition, and they are not better quality tan
the regular edition. The term artist's proof came from the
early days of printmaking, when the artist would proof the
printing plate that he was working on. He would continue
pulling proofs after doing more work on the plate, until the
plate was ready for printing for regular edition. In this
process each proof would be unique and therefore different then
the regular edition. because each plate has a limited
number of impressions possible before breaking down, artist try
to keep the proofing below 10% of the final edition.
- is the addition of an artist's drawing in pencil, or
sometime watercolour, to enhance the print with an original
piece of work, usually done in the margin. This applies to
original prints and reproductions. The remarque must be
done by hand to qualify as a remarque, not printed! Remarques
should comprise no more than 5% of the final edition.
MARK - is the printer's or artists seal usually embossed
on the border or in the image. This is another way of
giving authenticity to the printed image and cannot be removed