Print General

When we refer to printing in the context of a work of art, we are generally speaking of print making, which in its own right is an art form as valuable, and no less complex, than painting, sculpting etc.

Printing in this context generally falls into four categories: Relief; Intaglio; Planographic; stencil.

Relief printing includes techniques such as Woodcut, Linocut and Letterpress and is where the ink is taken from the top of an incision. Intaglio includes etching, drypoint, aquatint and engraving. Here the ink is taken from within the incision. Planographic includes Monotype and Lithograph where the ink is taken from a single plane. And, finally, stencil includes silkscreen and is where the printing is through an opening.

There are various reasons why an artist will use printmaking to add to his portfolio of techniques, not least of which is that some of the effects that can be created from the printing process cannot be re-created by working directly with a canvas and brush or pencil.

It may be a surprise to many, that artists who have become household names, either undertake their own printing methods in order to experiment with the textures and effects that can be achieved, or they work with printers and print houses to do the same.

You will see in the further sections where we are speaking of particular print methods, that an artist printmaker will continually experiment with new ideas. Mike Tingle and his newly developed standard 'cereal box relief' takes a collograph to its next stage as the material with which he builds his plate is basically cereal boxes. Like this, in some cases the artist printmaker experiments himself, and in others in collaboration with a specialist printer for example Henry Moore with Stanley Jones at Curwen press.

Therefore, when we add to this Original print, we are speaking of a work, uniquely conceived by an artist for that particular medium. Having produced the 'plate' or 'stencil' a limited number of prints are taken and the artist signs all, then commonly destroying the plates, thus creating a Limited Edition.

The Fine Art Trade Guild specifies that the term 'Limited Edition' means that no other print has been, is being, or will ever be made.