Original Prints and Printmaking Terms Explained
Thinking of Collecting Original Prints ?
Original prints can be a fantastic way to start building your art collection, but understand what you are buying and don't be afraid to ask questions about the artist and how a print has been made. With so many different techniques, the terminology around printmaking can be confusing for anyone who isn’t a printmaker! That’s why we have put together this glossary of terms to help you when choosing an original print to add to your collection. And we are always happy to answer any questions when you pop into the Gallery..
WHAT IS AN ORIGINAL PRINT?
An original print is not a reproduction print, it is a print that is manually printed onto paper by the artist from an image they have created on a plate, block or screen. Because of the hand printing method used, no two prints are completely identical, with small variations occurring.
LIMITED EDITIONS AND ARTISTS PROOFS
A limited edition is when the artist decides how many prints will be made from a plate or screen. The number of prints can vary greatly, and is determined by the choice of the artist as well as the method of printing used. some methods such as etching create a much more durable plate which can create a large number of prints, whereas a collagraph plate may be more delicate or made from perishable materials. The size of the edition can also effect the price of the print.
The number of prints being limited makes original prints collectable in a way that giclee and other reproduction prints may not be. Usually along with their signature the artist will write in pencil below the print the number of the print and the size of the editions, such as 2/50.
Along with the limited number of prints, the artist may also create ‘Artist’s Proofs’ which can number up to 10 percent of the edition size. These may be extra copies for the Artist to keep for themselves, a proof of the plate at an unfinished stage or prints that differ from the edition, such as printed with a different colour of ink.