Contemporary Fine Art Printmaking

Printmaking Processes / Descriptions


PRINTMAKER:  An artist producing original art prints by traditional, "hand pulled" methods



Chine Colle' - the process of adding color and pattern to your print with collage paper during the printing process.

Collograph - is essentially a collage of materials of various textures glued on a plate often of thin wood or cardboard.

Cyanotype - a photographic blueprint.

Drypoint - an engraving made with a steel point directly into the metal plate without the use of acid as in etching. A print made from such and engraving.

Etching - a printmaking technique that can uses liquid corrosive or non-corrosive elements to etch lines into a metal printing plate that holds the ink and forms the image.

Hybrid Print - a print made from combining various printmaking processes/techniques and converting the print into a single-pass process.

Linocut - a print made from a design cut into a mounted piece of linoleum. Many variations exist for linocuts (two-plate prints, multi-layered, variety of inking processes, and more).

Lithography - the process of printing from a plane surface (such as a smooth stone or metal plate) on which the image to be printed is ink receptive and the bland area iink-repellent. This results in a lithograph.

Monoprint - a form of printmaking that can only be made once, unlike most other forms of printmaking which allows for multiple prints to be pulled from the same plate.

Reduction Monoprint - another form of printmaking that can only be made once.  After the printmaker completes the carving that is usually done into a wood block, the area of the print that is to remain white is carved out.  The lightest coloured ink in the final print is rolled onto the block and the first prints are made for the number of editions to be completed, often between 10 to 12.  The area containing this first colour is then carved out and the next darker colour is rolled onto the block on each of the prints in progress.  This process continues until the darkest and final coloured ink has been used.  By the time the print is finished, the block will have been destroyed, making more prints impossible to pull.  An excellent registration process for these multi-layered prints is essential.

Monotype - a unique print, usually painterly in effect, made by applying paint or printing ink onto a flat sheet of metal, glass or plastic.

Stencil Monoprint - a print made using stencils and applying them in random order between layers of multi-coloured inks.  Stencils resist the application of layers of ink and the resulting print is an interesting, multi-coloured abstracted composition. 

Solar Print - a unique print where the composition is scratched onto the plate, then developed in a light box or under direct sunlight.

Trace Print (Lift Print) - a painterly process where the plate is inked, then print paper is gently set on top of the plate.  The printmaker draws a composition on the back of the paper and when the paper is lifted, the traced drawing is revealed.



In printmaking, an edition is a number of prints struck from one plate, usually at the same time. This may be a limited edition, with a fixed number of impressions produced on the understanding that no further impressions (copies) will be produced later, or an open edition limited only by the number that can be sold or produced.  

( Note:  Should an additional edition be produced, the artist numbers those editions in a manner that tells the buyers this is a second edition.) 



A Giclee (zhee-clay) is a Museum quality Fine-Art Reproduction, also called an Archival Print. Giclees’ are the result of highly advanced digital printing technology and unlike regular printed photocopied reproductions  A Fine-Art Giclee is the closest to an original painting you can get.  These art works are made with an ultra-high resolution fine-art printer, using seven cartridges of the very finest archival inks on acid-free paper.  The artwork is created by tiny jets spraying millions of droplets of archival pigmented inks onto a sheet of fine-art, acid free paper or on to cotton canvas.  This spray of ink contains more than 4 million droplets per second, providing better light fast, non water-soluble colour accuracy than other means of reproduction.  The process results in durable, vivid, pure colour and exceptional detail that is suitable for museum and gallery display. 

 The colour and artistic value, quality of materials and overall looks make a Fine-Art Giclee much more valuable and much more expensive to produce than any other kind of reproduction. They give art appreciators the opportunity to collect a valuable work of art for a very reasonable price. 

Many artists produce a limited number of Giclee prints per work of art and provide collectors with a certificate of authenticity.



A Certificate of Authenticity certifies that the print identified is an authentic limited edition, archival, original print produced, hand-numbered and signed by the artist or the original digital print was supervised and approved by the artist.  See example:

This is to certify that the print identified herein is an authentic limited edition original, archival giclee print produced by the artist, ____________.  This print has been hand numbered and signed by the artist.  The printing of this original digital print was supervised and/or performed and approved by the artist.  Any unauthorized reproduction or use is in violation of Canadian copyright law.

(An image of the print is added to the certificate.)