Print Making Techniques & Terminology

What is a limited edition print?

A Limited Edition Print is derived from an image produced from a block, a plate, a stone, on zinc, copper or some similar surface on which the artist has worked closely with a print maker or master printer. Unlike paintings or drawings, prints exist in multiples. The total number of impressions an artist decides to make for any one image is called an edition.

Each impression in an edition is numbered and personally signed by the artist.

An image may be based on an original painting, ‘after an oil’, or the artist (as in the case of Arthur Boyd) may paint “maquettes” specifically for prints. The artist may also create an image directly onto the plates, depending upon the chosen medium.

Each of the various methods of printmaking yields a distinct appearance. Artists choose a specific technique in order to achieve a desired result. The choice made by the artist to produce an image “in print” is the same as choosing to work in oil or any other medium. The only difference in print lies in the possibility of producing a number of near identical images.

The following are some of the principle printmaking techniques and terminology.