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Printmaking Glossary

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The term refers to paper, which is free from the damaging level of low pH. Most of the papers used in printmaking are normally acid-free.


In this method, printing is done after the printmaker copies the image from the painting or drawing of an artist.

A la poupée:

This is an intaglio method for inking many colors directly on a single plate, using small cotton dabbers called dollies.

Antique print:

Any print that is published or printed before 1900 is considered as antique print. The cut-off date is not fixed, so many original prints created before World War II is considered as antique. 


An etching method that creates toned areas by sprinkling the fine particles of resin on the plate before contact with an acid. The result gives the effect of a grain, which is similar to watercolor.

Blind stamp:

A blind stamp also known as chop mark, is a brocaded seal on a print for the purpose of differentiating by the publisher, the artist, a collector, or an institution.


A block is a piece of wood used as a matrix for a print. These blocks are mainly used for wood engravings or wood cuts.


A roller used to apply ink on a block or plate. This is made up of gelatin compound or a hard rubber.


The term is used to assure that a plate, or any other matrix from which limited edition is printed, can no longer be used. Sometimes the image is defaced or the plate is cut up and recycled.

Chine collé:

Chine collé is a method of printing an image on a thin sheet of paper mounted on a backing sheet during a single pass through the press.


A method in which large number of lithographic stones are used to perform complex color separation.


An instrument used for grinding pigments on an etching plate. The bottom of the dabber is covered with thick pad of wool surrounded by leather.


Drawing or painting directly on the plates creates a rough burr along the furrow. The result of the dry point is the soft lines with an engraving.

Dutch mordant:

This is used as an alternative to nitric acid in etching. This is a mixture of potassium chlorate and hydrochloric acid.


An edition is the number of prints produced from one plate, at the same time. This may be limited edition, or an open edition.


Engraving is a method of drawing in an intaglio plate without creating burr or using acids that stick on the soft line.


Etching is a process for producing a design in a plate to prepare it for intaglio printing. The process is repeated several times to prepare the plate for artistic control.

Flat bed:

The term used in print making to identify techniques such as lithography and serigraphy.

Flock print:

In this method, the block is surfaced with glue and finely chopped textile material is sprinkled on the glue. The result of this method is a soft print with indistinct outlines.


The term is used to define the images created with high quality inks, from high resolution digital scans. This type of printing gives greater color accuracy than other types of replication.


This is an electrotype method in which a copy of an engraved plate is used for letterpress printing.


The term is used to describe an undesirable mark in printing, made by dirt on the press or in the ink.


In the intaglio print, an image is printed from a recessed design etched on the surface of the plate. The lines in the plate stand in relief on the paper.

Linoleum cut:

This technique is similar to wood cut, but linoleum is used instead of wood.


The surface (metal, wood, or stone) on which the image is created. This is used to create an impression on the paper to make a print.


In this type of printing method, indirect image is transferred from photochemical plates. The plate transfers ink to a cylinder, which offsets the ink on the paper.


Plate- mark is an impression created on the paper by the plate, when the paper passes through the press.

Reduction printing:

This type of printing is made for registration purposes. Here, largest color areas are printed first, followed by the next size in sequence.


This is a stencil printing process in which the paint is forced through the silk screen on to the textile or paper.


This is used to assure proper centered image or color registration in the printing methods.


The term refers to the left-hand page in a book. In prints, it refers to the backside of the print.


A watermark is a pattern embossed in a piece of paper for identifying paper and papermaker.


This is a lithograph made on a zinc plate. The term is also used to define a photo etched print.

Here are a few additional resources on printmaking.
This was written by, your home for printer inks and laser toner.

Published - December 2011

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