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FAQ Category: Types of Prints

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 […]

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 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 […]

What is mezzotint?

Mezzotint is an engraving technique developed in the seventeenth century which allows for the creation of prints with soft gradations of tone and rich, velvety, and deep blacks. Mezzotint is created by engraving a copper or steel plate by rocking a toothed metal tool across the surface to prick the entire surface with small holes.  Each […]

What is an aquatint?

Aquatint is a method of achieving gradations of tone through a very fine network of lines or dots on the plate.  However, the lines and dots in the aquatint are formed through a different technique than is used with an etching, in which the image is formed by scratching through the ground. The artist making an […]

What is a “softground” etching?

Softground etching is a form of etching in which tallow is added to the ground before it is spread on the plate.  The tallow prevents the ground from fully hardening.  A sheet of paper is laid over the ground.  The artist then draws on the paper and then lifts it up.  When the artist drew, […]

What does “Intaglio” mean?

Intaglio is a type of printing in which cuts are made into a metal plate.  The word “Intaglio” means “incising” in Italian. Intaglio printing, which emerged in the 1500s, was a major development in print-making.  Before then, prints were generally made by relief cuts.  In other words, material would be removed from the plate and […]

What is an engraving?

An engraving is a method of printmaking in which a sharp steel tool called a burin is used to cut slivers out of a metal plate (usually copper) to create an image.  The plate will be inked and then the ink will be wiped off of the plate but left in the grooves.  A damp […]

What is the difference between an etching and an engraving?

Etchings and engravings are both methods of creating art with the use of a plate in a printing press.  And in both, the plate has grooves that hold the ink. The difference is in the making of those grooves. In an etching, the artist typically scratches through a coating applied to the face of the […]