Lithography (from Greek "litos" - the stone and "grapho" - to write) - is a kind of flat engraving (engraving on the stone). It is the youngest of engraving technique, which was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Aloys Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works.
When artist creates a lithography he draws the image directly on to the stone with a greasy material (litho crayons or pencils of varying densities made from a mixture of grease and wax, or tusche for more painterly affects.) When the drawing is completed the surface is treated with a chemical etch (gum arabic with varying drops of nitric acid), which serves to bond the greasy drawing materials to the surface while making the open areas grease-repellent, or water-loving.
Once the stone is processed it’s ready to make prints. The image is washed out with a solvent called lithotine and replaced with asphaltum (a greasy, printing base that ink will adhere to.) Then the water-soluble gum arabic coating is washed off with water. While the stone is still damp it is rolled up with ink (the ink roller is generally made of leather-covered wood, resembling a rolling pin.) The greasy ink adheres to the grease-loving image while the water repels it from the undrawn, open areas.After the image has been recreated to the satisfaction of the original artist or other authority, it is ready to be turned into a lithograph. The lithographic process hinges on the principle that oil and water cannot mix. An oil-based variety of ink is applied directly to the plate and immediately bonds with the equally greasy crayon lines. Water is then wiped onto the remaining unpainted areas to discourage the ink from smearing. A sheet of paper, preferably one with a high cotton content, is then placed over the entire plate.
Once the image is fully inked, the stone is dried, paper is laid over it and covered with a tympan. Then the stone, paper and tympan are passed under the scraper bar of the litho press (enormous pressure is used, so the stone must be thick enough to withstand it.) Once it passes through the press the tympan is removed and the paper is carefully pulled off, revealing a mirror-image of the inked drawing on the stone. The stone is then dampened again and re-inked for the next print. By repeating this process the artist can make as many prints as he or she desires.
Once the edition is completed the old image is removed from the stone by grinding it off with a levegator, allowing a new image to be drawn (only a paper-thin layer is removed, so litho stones can last long enough to make hundreds of prints.)
The first lithographs were printed with black ink only, but soon colored ink was added. Because of its planographic character, lithography was an ideal medium for making prints with multiple colors. This attracted advertisers as well as well-known artists in the 19th and 20th centuries, who viewed the medium as a way to expand the possibilities of their art and make it available to a wider audience.
Offset lithography - is a method of mass-production printing in which the images on metal plates are transferred (offset) to rubber blankets or rollers and then to the print media. The print media, usually paper, does not come into direct contact with the metal plates. This prolongs the life of the plates. In addition, the flexible rubber conforms readily to the print media surface, allowing the process to be used effectively on rough-surfaced media such as canvas, cloth or wood. The main advantage of offset printing is its high and consistent image quality.
Etching (from the French "eau-forte" - nitric acid, literally - a strong water) - is a kind of engraving on metal. The flowering of etching technique occurs at the beginning of the XVI century.
A metal plate is coated with a varnish-like substance (known as the "ground") that is impervious to acid. The artist creates an image by drawing through the ground with an etching needle, thus exposing areas of metal. The whole plate is then immersed in acid until the exposed lines are sufficiently bitten, producing grooves in the metal that will hold the ink. The ground is then removed, and the plate is ready to be inked and printed.
Number of prints with etching boards is limited and can be printed up to 100 prints with the zinc plate, 200 prints with copper plate, 300 prints with steel plate.
Seriography (from the Latin "sericus" - silk and Greek "graphein" - to write) - is a printing technique that makes use of a squeegee to force ink directly onto a piece of paper or canvas through a stencil creating an image on a screen of silk or other fine fabric with an impermeable substance.
The seriography appeared in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It was then adapted by other Asian countries like Japan, and was furthered by creating newer methods. Screenprinting was largely introduced to Western Europe from Asia sometime in the late 18th century, but did not gain large acceptance or use in Europe until silk mesh was more available for trade from the east and a profitable outlet for the medium discovered.
Silkscreen prints are made by first stretching mesh over a wooden frame and then placing a thin layer of plastic on top of the screen to control the flow of ink. The design that is to be printed must be manually punched into the plastic or melted into it through the use of ultraviolet light and special plastic. Ink is forced through the open holes in the mesh with a squeegee. A separate mesh is used for each color in an image.
Screenprinting has been used commercially since the 1920s. It first began to be used by artists in 1930s America and the term ‘serigraph’ was initially used to denote an artist’s print, as opposed to commercial work. It has been widely used by artists as a printmaking technique since the 1950s. In 1960s, seriography widely used in art of such famous artists as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Victor Vasarely. But a special contribution to the mass development of Limited Edition Art was made by the most brilliant representative of Pop-Art - Andy Warhol. He was one of the first who used screenprinting as a method of creating paintings.
Giclee (from the French "le gicleur", which means - to spray) - is a piece of printed artwork or photograph produced by using a high quality digital inkjet printer.
The term of the word "giclee" was coined by printmaker Jack Duganne in 1991 and he was one of the first who began to use inkjet digital printing for creating objects of fine art. Before the introduction of the term "giclee" all printed images were called "the Iris prints" with reference to a printer Iris, popular in the late 1980. Duganne realized the usefulness of such a high quality printer after he analyzed the difference between conventional and digital printing. So, during the preparation for exhibition of the artist Diane Bartz, Duganne searched term, which would increase the level of consumer perception of prints created from the original works of art and finally he decided that the French term "Giclee" may be appropriate and can describe the printing process.
Giclee produced by printing process with high-resolution images on an inkjet printer. Color pigments are mixed on the surface and exactly repeat the original works of art. The image can be printed on different surfaces, including canvas, paper, glass and ceramics. Artists can decorate the image by adding color, texture and design manually.
Intaglio - is a method of "gravure printing", which was invented by Czech artist Karel Klich in the late XIX century.
Intaglio printing is different from other printing techniques because the thickness of the ink layer on the one print can change from tens to hundreds of micrometers, while usually this rate is about 1 micrometer. This feature of technology provides the relief of picture elements, which protrude above the surface of the paper and the roughness of image feels when touched. The method of manufacturing intaglio prints consists in the following:
The image in an intaglio print is incised or etched into the surface of a plate. The ink lays below the surface of the plate and is transferred to the paper under pressure. The printed lines of an intaglio print will be in relief on the paper. Intaglio prints have platemarks.
In polygraphy the gravure printing was traditionally used for the production of illustrated products. In art graphics the method of gravure printing is used for certain types of engraving and particularly etching.
Aquatinta (from the French "aquatinta" - colored water) is a special kind of etching, graphic printing, which allows to create limited edition prints with rich tonality. In the 17th century a number of attempts were made at producing what later became known as aquatint prints. None of the efforts was successful, however, until 1768, when the French printmaker Jean-Baptiste Le Prince discovered that granulated resin gave satisfactory results. Aquatint became the most popular method of producing toned prints in the late 18th century, especially among illustrators.
Fine particles of acid-resistant material, such as powdered rosin, are attached to a printing plate by heating. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath, just like etching. The acid eats into the metal around the particles to produce a granular pattern of tiny indented rings. These hold sufficient ink to give the effect of an area of wash when inked and printed. The extent of the printed areas can be controlled by varnishing those parts of the plate to appear white in the final design. Gradations of tone can be achieved by varying the length of time in the acid bath, longer periods produce more deeply-bitten rings, which print darker areas of tone.
The most effective method of aquatint is printing from several boards, each of which is painted in a certain color. Artists very often combine this technique with other methods of etching. The print edition made by the aquatint method is not too big - about 200-500 copies.
Photography (from the ancient Greek «light» and «to write») - is the process or art of producing images of objects on sensitizedsurfaces by the chemical action of light or of other forms of radiantenergy, as x-rays, gamma rays, or cosmic rays.
The history of photography is much shorter than the history of other arts and has only 180 years since William Henry Talbot Focus received constant negative image on paper coated with silver chloride, which was recorded with brine, and then received a positive image with the overlay of negativity on another sheet of paper, prepared the same way. The first half-tone photograph appeared in a daily American newspaper 136 years ago, and the first roll-film camera began to be used since 1900.
Today, the market of art photography is rapidly developing and it is one of the relatively affordable segment in the art area. Photographs are available in limited editions and printing from one negative, where the main criteria of authenticity, as well as other limited edition artworks, are the signature of the artist and the numbering of issue.
Collage (from the French "coller" -"to glue") is a technique of an art production, primarily used in the visual art, where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. Collage technique was introduced in the art by Cubists, Futurists and Dadaists as a formal experiment.
The term "collage" was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art.
The artist can combine different artistic techniques and mix appliqu? and collages well as add collage into the layer of paint of the painting. Today collage technique has a very high popularity among the artists and art lovers. Many collage artworks produce in a limited edition. Other kinds of collage are the photo and video collages, which allow to the artist to create a completely different and sometimes unexpected artwork. The essence of the photo collage is the arbitrary combination of several identical or entirely different from the subject images, video collage is a composing the video series from the excerpts and fragments of films, music videos, home movies and combined with text and photography.
Sculpture - (from the Latin "sculpo" - to cut, carving) - is a type of fine art, which includes works that have a three-dimensional shape and are created from solid or plastic materials.
The sculpture can be safely attributed to the category of "Limited Edition Art", because many of the artists creates sculptures in limited edition. There are two main types of "sculptural" edition "1 of 8", which is recognized in all countries (sculptures from the number 1 to number 8 considered equivalent, plus some artist's copies, marked with the abbreviation "A.P") and "1 of 12" which was set by French museum of Rodin. The authenticity of limited edition sculpture determined by the presence on it the artist's signature, number and stamp of the studio.
Digital designations: 35/250 - "fraction" in which the numerator is the number of printed issue and the denominator - is the total number of issue (edition).
А.Р. - Artist's Proof (English, artist's issue) - the first set of prints pulled for the artist's own use, are marked as A.P. and may or may not be numbered and are considered by many to be higher in value than the subsequent numbered edition prints;
Е.А. - Epreuve d'Artiste (French, artist's issue) - the first set of prints pulled for the artist's own use, are marked as E.A. and may or may not be numbered and are considered by many to be higher in value than the subsequent numbered edition prints;
Н.С. - Hors Commerce (French, out of commerce) - print identical to the edition print intended to be used as samples to show to dealers and galleries;
P.P. - Proof by the Printer or Printer's Proof - one or two prints left for the printmaker.
Usually, all these designations are in the bottom left corner, but the artist's signature is in the bottom right corner.
The advice given in this article is valid for all kinds of old and modern prints alike:
- the place must be dry and protected from direct exposure to UV rays;
- art prints which are not framed should be stored in a special packaging
: archive portfolio, mat made of acid-free cardboard, protecting print sleeves made of acid-free materials;
- on the protective packaging should be labeling indicating the name of artist, title of the artwork, technique and year of creation;
- when you frame the art print is better to use museum glass and acid-free mat;
- for the hanging of framed art print it is necessary to choose a place with a minimal amount of light - up to 70 lux