What is an original print

To help you appreciate my work here is a brief explanation of printmaking techniques and terms.

AN ORIGINAL PRINT is an image created from hand cut or uniquely produced source, such as printing blocks, plates or stencils which are used to produce a limited number of prints. The number produced is determined by the artist, or by the actual printing process itself. This is called the edition.
In contrast, a reproduction print is a copy of a work in another medium e.g. a painting. The ‘limited print’ is simply determined by the quantity that the printing press is set to produce, without any further involvement from the artist.

RELIEF PRINTING is made by cutting the image into a flat surface to create raised areas. Ink is then applied to the relief block with a roller and the ink is transferred to paper by using either a printing press or hand burnishing. Only the raised part of the block deposits the inked image on to the paper. Colour prints can be made by masking out areas of a relief block, allowing one block to be inked in many different colours. Alternatively colour is built up one layer at a time, often by cutting a separate block for each colour and then carefully registering one block upon the other.

A LINOCUT is a form of relief printing using linoleum which is relatively soft and easy to cut with knives, gouges and v shaped tools.

A COLLAGRAPH is made from a collaged or textured board. There are two basic approaches to producing a collagraph plate. Sticking paper etc on to the board or by cutting and scoring into the surface. The finished plate can be sealed with varnish to form a tough, non-absorbent surface prior to prints being taken. A Collograph can either be printed in a relief or intaglio method.

A LITHOGRAPH is based on the simple principle that grease and water do not mix. Originally large limestone blocks were used to print from but today zinc and aluminium plates are more common used. The surface is inked-up with a roller using oil based ink. The ink adheres to the greasy areas which are the artwork and is repelled by the areas which are wet. A print is taken by laying a sheet of paper over the inked plate and passing both through a litho press.

A SCREEN PRINT is made with a fine woven mesh stretched tight over a frame. Where the mesh is filled or masked no ink penetrates and that area remains unprinted. These ‘masks’ can be as simple as paper cut-outs or as complex as light sensitive emulsions. A sheet of paper is laid under the screen, then a flat rubber blade is drawn over it, forcing ink through the open areas not masked.