Intaglio method of printing (etching) where zinc or copper plates are dusted with powdered rosin or sprayed with a fine mist of paint before being dipped into acid to get ‘bitten’ with various depths, the deeper the depth the darker the tone.



artist’s proofs

A small quantity of proofs that are kept by the artist and are not part of the edition. These are marked with A/P.


Japanese hand tool used to apply pressure across the back of the printing paper. Traditionally used in Japanese wood block printing and is still used today to hand burnish prints by many printmakers.


The corrosive effect of acid on the exposed metal plate.

The printing surface; as in lino block or wood block.

A Japanese method of blending colours to produce gradation, which is often used for the background to depict sky or sea.

This is a hardwood that is used for wood engraving. It is specially made into end grain blocks.


A small hand roller used to spread a film of ink across the surface of the printing block or plate.


An intaglio and/or relief print made from a collage of materials glued onto a base plate of either cardboard, plastic, hardboard wood or metal.


A wooden frame used in papermaking which helps to establish the exact size of the sheet. Also it refers to the untrimmed rough edge on mould-made paper; Deckle edge.

dry point

A form of intaglio printing.

A sharp needle or diamond point is used to scratch lines onto a metal plate of zinc or copper. This leaves a burr of metal that holds more ink than the incised line itself. The result is a print with a rich velvety tone. Only small editions are possible as the plate wears down after printing in a press.


The number of prints pulled from a block or plate by the printmaker. This does not include any Artists proofs.


A raised impression made by pressing dampened paper onto a block or plate.


A hardwood block that is cut across the grain, revealing the growth rings of the tree. This surface is then prepared for wood engraving.


The term used when a print is produced using an incised mark, a wooden block with incised marks is a wood engraving.


Intaglio method of printing: Lines are incised into a metal plate by using acid. The surface of the plate is covered by an acid resistant ground which is scratched away to reveal the image to be etched. The longer the plate is left in the acid the deeper the incised lines.


or burnishing/to burnish by hand

Printing without a press, by using hand pressure to rub the back of the printing paper in order to transfer the printing ink onto the paper. This can be done using a baren or the back of a spoon or any tool designed for the job by the artist.


From the Italian intagliare, meaning ‘to carve or cut into’

key block

Used in relief printing when more than one block is required i.e. one for each colour; the key block carries most of the essential detail and/or the main colour. It is used to key all the other blocks together.


or Linoleum cut (lino cut) linoleum engraving.

Sheet linoleum is carved or cut using an assortment of gouges to produce an image or pattern. This is then inked up and printed off using either the relief or intaglio method.

monotype or monoprint

A ‘one off’ print produced by painting onto a non-absorbent smooth surface such as plastic, metal or glass.

multiple block print

Printing from several blocks, each one carrying a separate colour.

multiple coloured inking

This is when several colours are printed from the same block, possibly all at the same time, by using stencils, brushes or small rollers to carefully apply each colour.


Type of paint used by many artists.Very permanent and light-fast once dry.

original limited-edition print

or original print

A piece of art created by an indirect transfer process where the original design is drawn onto a block, plate or screen and by various methods is printed onto paper. An original print is created from the initial design stage, to printing the final print, by the artist/printmaker (or in collaboration with a printing press company that may take on the editioning stage of the process). A multiple of printing techniques can be used to create the final print. The artist must decide on how many prints will be in the edition, and print each one individually, either by hand or by passing through a printing press. The quality of each print must meet certain criteria or it will not make the edition. Each print or impression taken from the block is numbered and signed by the artist. Each print is called an original because it is an impression taken from the original block created by the artist and not a reproduction of another artwork.

reduction print

or reduction block.

One block is used to print off all the colours of a print, usually working from the lightest colour to the darkest. As each colour is printed the corresponding colour is then cut away from the block and the next colour is printed over the first. This is repeated until all colours are printed.

relief print

Printing from the upper surface of the block or plate. Examples are: woodcut, lino cut, relief etching and relief collagraph.


This is the resin from pine trees. It is used in varnish and grounds in etching.


The fine mesh stretched over a frame for printing, as in screen printing.


This is a method of printing where ink is forced through a mesh screen which has been masked off by using stencils or blocking out fluid.

wood engraving

The image is cut from the end grain of a block of wood. Very fine images can be produced using this method of printing. Some wood cuts are produced this way, especially if fine detail is required.


A type of relief printing. The image is carved out of the side grain of a plank of wood or from plywood. The gouged out areas do not print.