is a print?
A print is an image which has been transferred from one surface
to another. Many pictures that are sold as “prints”
or even “limited edition signed prints” are actually
photographic reproductions, actually just good quality posters.
These are made by photographing an original work of art, usually
a painting or drawing and reproducing the image photographically,
often these days with a digital technology called giclee (say
jee-clay). All of Anita Klein’s prints are original prints.
She does not allow her work to be made into posters.
is an original Print?
Real artists’ original prints are different from these reproductions
in that they are original works of art in their own right. There
is no original painting or drawing. Instead the image is conceived
by the artist as a print from the outset.
An original print is an image produced from a surface on which
the artist has worked, such as a stone or wood block or a copper
plate. This surface is intended by the artist to be a stage in
the creation of the artwork. Thus the original work of art in
this case is the print itself rather than the block or plate,
from which it is printed.
Anita Klein printing a woodcut
image is drawn or cut on a block, plate, silkscreen or stone depending
on the technique used then printed from that, usually onto paper.
The artist may build up the image by drawing other colours onto
separate blocks or plates which are printed on top of each other,
and may modify the print by returning to these blocks, plates,
screens or stones and adding or erasing marks.
Left: Sanju Mathew inking one of Anita’s linocuts
satisfied with the final effect, a proof is signed by the artist
and a limited number of identical prints are then printed by the
artist him or herself or by a master printer. These are signed
and numbered by the artist; eg. 2/25 is the second print produced
in a limited edition of 25. Other numberings are A/P meaning artist’s
proof, which are extra copies normally kept by the artist (no
more than 10% of the whole edition), T/P meaning trial proof;
a print taken during the initial proofing stage that is different
from the final edition, and P/P; a copy for the printer if he
or she is not the artist.
Many original print editions are limited because of the technique
used, eg: some soft metals used as etching plates wear down
slightly with each printing, so eventually the image will not
print well. Usually however the artist decides on the size of
the edition and after the full edition is printed the original
block, plate or stone is defaced in some way so that no more
prints can be taken.
Left: Maia and Leila Give me Flowers - drypoint
Techniques: There are several different methods of printmaking.
Amongst the most common are the following:
These are prints where the image is cut into a surface or plate
(from the Italian intagliare, to cut into). When the plate is
inked, the incised lines hold the ink and the image is transferred
to a second surface, usually paper. The inked lines on the finished
surface are often slightly raised and there is generally a visible
line around the image where the plate has been pressed into the
paper, called the platemark. Examples of intaglio printmaking
Right: Lady Playing Cards - etching
The plate is covered in an acid-resistant layer of wax called
an etching ground. The image is then drawn into this surface with
an etching needle. When covered with printing ink the lines hold
the ink whilst the rest of the plate repels it.
Left: Angel in Spring - etching
The artist draws the image directly onto the plate with a sharp
tool. The residue metal is left on the side of the scratched lines,
which then collect the ink, creating a furry effect called burr.
Left: Butterfly at Breakfast - drypoint
The whole plate is covered with grains of resin called an aquatint
ground, allowing acid to bite into the entire area, creating an
overall grainy, tonal effect. This technique is often combined
Left: November – etching and aquatint
These are printed in the same way as intaglio prints but the plate
is made by sticking various materials onto a shiny surface such
as Perspex. Anita usually uses carborundum: The image is drawn
onto Perspex with wood glue (pva). Then carborundum powder is
sprinkled over the glue and varnished when the glue is dry. This
holds the ink in the same way that an engraved line does, but
the carborundum line is much thicker and more embossed. Anita
often hand colours these prints with watercolour so each one is
really a unique painting.
Left: Undressing - hand coloured collograph
These are prints where the areas around the image
to be printed are cut away, leaving the image on the block in
relief. These raised areas are then inked and transferred onto
a second surface, usually paper. The most common relief prints
Left: Dreaming of Swooping Birds - woodcut
Left: Windy Day - linocut
From the Greek lithos, stone and graphe, writing. This printing
process is unlike both intaglio and relief processes, both of which
involve cutting into the plate. Lithography relies on the principle
that grease and water will repel each other. The image is drawn
in a greasy substance onto a lithographic stone. The stone is then
dampened with water and the greasy printing ink adheres only to
Left: Autumn – lithograph
(published by Editions Vulfovitch: www.edition-vulfovitch.com
A form of stencil printing, in which ink is pressed through a
fine-mesh screen, traditionally silk, onto a sheet of paper. A
design can be applied to the screen in various ways to produce
an image. Screenprints are often produced in colour, using different
screens for each colour.
Left: Will’s Wee Bird – screenprint with woodblock
(published by Advanced Graphics London: www.advancedgraphics.co.uk
These are unique works which are either hand-coloured versions of an editioned print, or made using an editioned print and using different colours from those in the final edition.
Left: Family Tree
These pictures are made by painting with printing inks onto a sheet of metal or plastic, then pressing onto a piece of paper. This means that there is only one unique copy of each. Sometimes a fainter second print can be taken which can be painted over to create a painting on paper.
Left: Wine & Tulips