An etching process in which the tonality is achieved by dusting powdered resin onto a plate, heating it, when the resin has adhered to the plate, the plate is etched.

Artist's Proof

Artist's Proof should be exactly the same as the edition in quality and image though they are outside the numbered edition. They are identified with "A.P." or "Artist's Proof" on the impression. They are often retained by the artist or publisher.

Bon a Tirer

A literal translation from the French meaning "good to pull" and refers to the first print the artist decides to use for editioning. This print is then used as a guide for printer of the edition. This print is annotated Bon a Tirer, B.A.T. or R.T.P. (Right to Print), and is outside the edition.

Cancellation Proof

A proof pulled from defaced plate, screen or block, to guarantee that no other prints may be made from that edition, thus insuring a limited edition.


An identifying mark embossed on a print to identify the workshop, printer or publisher of the print.


A print of a collage which may consist of a variety of materials glued to a rigid plate. The plate is then inked and printed usually on an etching press.

Color Trial Proof

This term may be used to annotate Trial Proofs, these proofs may be done using the same plates as in the edition but the color varies from that used in the edition.

Deckle Edge

The uneven edge on handmade paper or mould made paper.


Drawing on a metal plate with a needle of hard steel, often with a diamond point. The "burr" that is formed along the edge of the line traps the ink for a soft rich effect.


Total number of prints pulled from one image and represents the largest body of work for sale from that image. These prints are consecutively numbered to show that the edition is limited by publisher or artist.

Embossment/ Debossment

The effect attained by a specially cut plate or block printed inkless. This results in the image on paper having a raised or lowered effect.


A method of drawing that employs a burin or graver to cut or incise on a metal plate. acid. The drawing and preparation of the plate can be accomplished with a variety of techniques dealt with elsewhere in this glossary. See Hardground, Sugar Lift and Softground.

Handmade Paper

Paper formed by a hand held mould or matrix.

Hors de Commerce

These prints are outside the edition but are the same as the edition and are used as gifts or payment to those involved in the production of the edition.


A general term covering the printing process such as engraving, aquatint, mezzotint, etching. Any process in which the image is cut, engraved or etched below the surface of the plate.

Line Engraving

A print made by using a metal plate cut with an engraving tool.


A process based on the natural repulsion between grease and water. Image is drawn on stone, aluminum or zinc plates, or both with greasy drawing materials. The image is then chemically processed so that the drawn area accepts grease (ink) and the non-image area water. Unlike intaglio printing the image and non-image areas are on the same plane or level (planographic).


An intaglio process in which the surface of the plate is scored by a spurlike "rocker" so that it is completely roughened. The plate is then smoothed in areas to produce modulated tones of light and dark values.

Offset Lithography

A planographic process in which the inked impression is taken from the plate by a rubber covered cylinder which then transfers the image it has picked up to the paper.

Plate Mark

In intaglio prints the pressure of the press causes the plate to leave a mark of its surface dimensions upon the paper.

Printer's Proof

This impression is exactly like the edition and is the property of the printers responsible for pulling the edition.


To print, to transfer the ink to paper.


Drawings or experimental marks usually in the margins of the print, to be removed before the work is editioned. The prints with these marks are called Remarque Proofs.


The print or a whole edition pulled from formerly printed plates, blocks, stones, or stencils after the original edition has been printed and cancelled. These prints should show a defacing mark to note that original edition has been cancelled.

Signed Edition

The number below the line designates the total size of the edition, the upper number refers to the specific print from the total edition, i.e. 2/100, the second print pulled from an edition of 100.

Silkscreen/ Serigraph/ Screenprint

A stencil process employing a frame on which silk or synthetic fabric is stretched. Stencils such as photo, hand drawn or hand cut are placed on the stretched fabric and act as a block out when the ink passes through the screen by means of a squeegee onto the paper, the non-stencil areas create the image.


A tool used in silkscreen to apply ink or paint to material to be printed. A wooden bar and a rubber blade forces ink through screen.

State Proof

The alteration of an editioned image, plate, stone or stencil creating a new or related image. The new image may be printed in an edition with all impressions designated "State" I, II, III, IV, or more.


Bavarian limestone is used in the medium of lithography. This is the element that the artist draws on to create the print image.

Sugar-Lift/ Ground

The image is drawn on the plate with brush or pen and sugar ink (a mixture of sugar and India ink). The plate is covered with hardground and immersed in hot water to dissolve the sugar, lifting the hardground with it. The plate is then etched in the normal manner.

Trial Proof

A proof that varies from the edition either in color, size, drawing, printing order, etc. These proofs are usually pulled before the artist has arrived at the final decision for the edition. These prints are usually unique impressions which may be retained by the artist and are not numbered in any manner.


The mark that papermakers form in their papers by sewing the design into the mould before the papermaking process. The watermark can be seen when held to the light as it is more translucent than the rest of the paper.

Wood Cut

A relief process in which the image is cut in a block of wood with tools such as knives, goughers or chisels. The image is inked with a roller, paper is applied to the surface and the back is rubbed by hand or with a rubbing tool, transferring the image to the paper.

Wood Engraving

A relief process in which the image is cut into the end grain of a block of wood using engraving tools. This process produces a very fine white line.

Zinc Plates/Copper Plates/Metal Plates

Used both for lithography and intaglio processes.


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