Print process


    (Also referred to as serigraph or silkscreen) Screenprinting is a form of stencil on a mesh substrate. An image can be created from digitally printed film, hand-cut rubylith, or hand drawn with ink on acetate. The image is then transferred to a screen by a photo-emulsion process. First the screen is coated with a light-sensitive emulsion and then the image is exposed onto the screen in the dark room at various exposures. The areas where the image has stopped the light from passing through is water soluble and is washed out whilr all other areas harden with the light. Ink is then able to transfer through the screen by using a squeegee onto the paper, except in the areas made impermeable to the ink by the emulsion or blocking agent. A James Nares print, for example, is often several layers (12+) of ink made with various stages of exposed screens to create the dimensional brushstroke.


    Woodblock is one of the oldest printing techniques. Various implements (both hand tools and power tools) can be used to make shaped blocks, as well as to carve relief into the block. Paper is placed over the inked block and then pressed or passed through a press to transfer the ink from block to paper, creating the impression. After each printing, the block must be cleaned and re-inked before being printed again. With more complicated imagery, several layers of registered woodblocks can be used to create more in-depth prints.


    Etching is a printing process that uses acid to incise imagery on a metal (often copper) plate that has been coated by an acid resistant coating (hard ground). Through the use of various methods or tools, the hard ground is removed or etched into, exposing the copper beneath it. The plate is then then immersed into an acid bath where the exposed areas are chemically dissolved. The hard ground is then carefully removed, so you are left with a fully exposed copper plate with areas that have been etched. The plate is then inked and hand-wiped, allowing the ink to settle into the channels. Paper is placed on the face of the plate and is then put through the etching press in one continuous pass.


    The soft linoleum surface is easily carved with a sharp knife, v-shaped chisel or gouge. The raised uncarved areas, which represent a reversal mirror image, are then inked and passed through a press with paper to create the image. Similar to woodblock, various layers of linocuts can be printed on the same piece of paper in registration to create more complex and multi-colored images.


    Digital printing is a method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. Digital prints are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Mickalene Thomas utilizes digital prints by adding them as a layer to her complex collage prints.


    Gold and silver leaf is gold/silver that has been hammered into thin sheets is often available in a wide variety of karats and shades. These sheets are then suitable for applying to surfaces as a decoration. You can see an example of gold leaf in Mother's Day by Beatriz Milhazes and an example of silver leaf in Hurvin Anderson's Mirror: Don't Look Back series


    Aquatint is an etching method used to create a more subtle tonal range than a line etching. Powdered rosin is applied and heated onto a metal plate; the metal that remains exposed around the melted drops of rosin is then "bitten" in an acid bath, creating a pitted, grainy surface. These pits hold ink and print as areas of subtler tone.





    Proofs are a set of prints identical to or similar to the editioned image. These prints are not included in the final edition size but are created during the proofing or production of the numbered image.


    PRINTER'S PROOF (PP) – a fixed number of prints identical to the numbered edition but not included in the edition size that have been reserved for the printer.


    ARTIST'S PROOF (AP) – like a printer's proof, an artist proof is a fixed number of prints identical to the numbered ediiton but are reserved for the artist.


    TRIAL PROOF (TP) – a unique work created during the proofing process. These works were not pursued to be editioned but were signed by the artist as a unique print.


    RIGHT TO PRINT (RTP) – the print approved by the artist to be pursued as an edition. These prints are not included in the edition size.


    HORS COMMERCE (HC) – meaning "out of trade," these prints are signed by the artist but are not commercially available or included in the edition size.


    ARCHIVE PRINT (A) – a signed print idential to the final edition but not included in the edition size. It is reserved by the publisher to be a part of their permanent collection.


    ROMAN NUMERAL – prints that were created during the editioning process but were not originally signed. The artist and publisher chose to sign these prints at a later date, but are assigned a roman numeral in a fixed set instead of including it in the edition size.




    A monoprint is a unique work created using various print techniques.



    A monotype is a unique work created by painting on a surface such as glass or metal that is transferred to paper either manually or through a printing press.