Basic printmaking terms
Printmaking – the art of making a plate and then making prints from that plate
Plate – the flat matrix that the artwork is created on. Depending on the type of printmaking this can be
glass, metal, polycarbonate sheeting, linoleum, stone, wood, cardboard and other things.
Press – a mechanical device used to apply pressure in order to transfer ink from a plate to paper. There
are 3 basic different presses: a letter press is used for type (letter blocks) and sometimes woodcuts or
linocuts; an intaglio press is used for etching, monotypes, collographs and sometimes linocuts or
woodcuts (depending on the thickness), a lithography press is used with stone and metal lithography.
Hand pulled print – a print produced by inking a plate and then a using pressure of a baron (by hand) or
the pressure of a press, the ink is transferred from the plate on to paper
Edition or E – In an edition all prints are the same: the inking and paper. Number of a set of prints
limited to the last number.
Varied Edition or V.E. – In a varied edition all of the prints are from the same plate, but the inking,
colour, and paper varies. Chine collé can be added as well.
Archival paper – an acid free paper often made from rag, cotton, linen or other natural fibers, also
sometimes referred to as wove paper
Chine collé – paper or fabric is glued on the paper as part of the printing process
a la poupée – colouring with different inks at the same time. Small twists of fabric (poupées) are used
like paintbrushes to rub in the ink
Multi-viscosity inking – to different consistencies of ink are rolled on to a plate. The two inks resist one
another to produce a interesting colour separation. It is used on deeply etched plates.