THE LANGUAGE OF GRAPHICS
An artist working in a printmaking medium, such as etching, lithography, and serigraphy creates a pre-determined number of images. Original graphics are produced on a master plate, stone, or screen one at a time using a graphic press.
A pre-determined number of impressions are produced from a master plate, stone, or other method, after which no more impressions are allowed. The edition size is the sum of all numbered pieces and proofs.
SIGNED AND NUMBERED
In a limited edition, the artist pencils in his signature and a number on the bottom of the print. The number appears as a fraction, such as 10/75. This indicates that the work is the 10th print to be signed in this edition of 75 prints.
In addition to the regular numbered edition, the artist usually selects a specified number of identical proofs for either his or her own use, for a museum, or as the artist chooses. These proofs may be designed as artistís proofs (AAP, or EA in French and PA in Spanish), printerís proofs (PP) or hors dícommerce (HC) images.
A sharp needle is used to draw a design on a metal plate that has been coated with an acid-resistant substance (ground). The plate is then put into an acid bath, and the exposed parts are etched (eaten away), producing sunken lines. In printing, the ink settles in the sunken areas and the plate is wiped clean. After this process, the plate is covered with damp paper and passed through a roller press, forcing the paper into the sunken area to receive the ink.
The artist draws, usually with a greasy crayon, directly on a flat stone or specially prepared metal plate. The stone is dampened with water, then inked. The ink will cling to the greasy crayon marks, but not to the dampened areas. When a paper is pressed against the stone, the ink on the greasy parts is transferred to it.
The artist prepares a tightly stretched screen, usually of silk, and blocks out areas not to be printed by filling the mesh on the screen with a varnish-like substance. Paper is placed under the screen, and ink is forced through the still-open mesh onto the paper by means of a squeegee.
From the French word meaning "spray of ink", a Giclee is a print created by using state of the art computer technology to reproduce images. By printing the image on media much like that used for the original - usually either canvas or high-quality paper - a piece of artwork stunningly similar to the original is created.