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FAQ Category: Printmaking Terms

What Is Chine-Collé

Chine-collé is a printmaking technique in which a super-fine, thin paper is run through the printing press glued to a heavier support sheet.  The process allows the print to be made on a very delicate surface, such as Japanese paper or linen, that pulls finer details off the plate, creates a subtle, delicate backdrop to […]

Who is James Stroud

James Stroud is one of the great master printmakers working in America today.  He studied printmaking in Paris with legendary printmaker Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 and, later, with Gabor Peterdi at the Yale School of Art. In 1984 he founded Center Street Studio where, as director and master printer, he publishes print projects […]

What is Manière Noire?

Manière noire is a print-making technique in which the plate is directly scratched with a wire brush or other device or by ruling closely-set parallel lines in several directions on the ground before etching.  Its purpose and effect is to produce an overall texture.

What is a Photogravure?

Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process in which a copper plate coated with a light-sensitive gelatin tissue is exposed to light which is shined through a film negative (just as is done when printing a photograph.  The light degrades the gelatin tissue.  The plate is then washed with acid.  The acid etches the copper where […]

What is Gouache?

Everyone’s heard of oil paints and acrylics—but what is “gouache”? Gouache (which is pronounced /gwash/) is a paint made by dissolving ground pigments in water and then thickened with a glue-like substance (usually gum arabic or yellow dextrin).  It is applied like oils and acrylics but like watercolors it tends to be absorbed into the […]

What is a Collotype

A collotype is a type of print in which a glass or metal plate is covered with a light-sensitive substance.  The substance is exposed to an image on a negative, much like a photograph, which modifies the substance on the plate and, in turn, creates the image.  The image would vary in hardness according to […]

What is Héliogravure?

Héliogravure is a form of intaglio printing.  Like etchings and engravings, the print starts with a plate, and, like etchings and engravings, héliogravure plates are typically copper.  Unlike etchings and engravings, the image on a héliogravure plate is not mechanically created.  Instead, it is created with a photochemical process. To prepare the plate for the […]

What is Social Realism?

Social realism is the term used for work produced by artist who aim to draw attention to the real socio-political conditions of the working class as a means to critique the power structures behind these conditions.  In particular, it refers to the interwar-period art movement that blossomed as a reaction to the terrible lives suffered […]

What is a roulette?

A roulette is a steel tool with a revolving toothed wheel used for creating patterns, backgrounds, patterned lines, and the like.  Roulettes are used in making both etchings and engravings.  Other often-used etching and engraving tools include burins, burnishers, and scrapers.

What is a burnisher?

A burnisher is a steel tool used for flattening burrs and polishing the plate surface, as well as for making corrections.  Burnishers are used in making both etchings and engravings.  Other often-used etching and engraving tools include burins, roulettes, and scrapers.

What is a scraper?

A scraper is a steel tool used to scrape away material from the surface of a printing plate, as well as for correcting mistakes.  Scrapers are used for both etchings and engravings.  Other often-used etching and engraving tools include burins, roulettes, and burnishers.

What is a wood engraving?

A wood engraving is a print made by cutting an image into the end grain of a piece of wood.  It is different from a “woodcut“, in which the image is cut into the face of the board, though often people refer to all prints made by cutting into wood as a “woodcut”. To make […]