Creative Process /
Monoprints and Monotypes /
Painting Terms & Definitions /
The Creative Process
various media employed by artists can be important in determining the
quality and value of a particular painting or print. Original works of
art are created with oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel and pen and ink.
Original prints are most often made by using one of the following
printing processes: lithography, etching, serigraphy, and relief
printing. A brief synopsis of these common printing techniques follows:
To produce a lithograph, the artist draws on a limestone slab with
a grease crayon or with tusche (liquid ink). Water is spread over the
stone and covers only the areas not drawn on. Ink is rolled over the
stone, adhering to the greasy lines drawn by the artist, but not to
those areas covered by the water. Paper is placed over the surface and
a print made in a special press. Today, artists use various materials,
from aluminum plates to acetate sheets, to create lithographs.
Here the medium is a copper or zinc plate coated with
acid-resistant varnish. The artist draws the design through the
varnish coating. The plate is then immersed in acid and the lines are
etched in the metal plate. When inked and placed in a press, a print
impression of the design results.
The artist uses a tightly stretched screen, often silk, and covers the
screen with a varnish-like substance to block out the areas he does
not want to print. Ink is then forced through the screen onto the
paper, printing only through the unvarnished sections.
In making a relief print, a block of material, often wood or
linoleum, is used instead of a metal plate. The artist uses sharp
tools to cut his design into the surface of the block, removing all
the undesired surface and leaving his original design on the block.
The design is then inked and applied to paper.
Original prints are
always produced in limited editions, usually several hundred, at the
most. The print will have a figure on its border, indicating the number
of prints made and the number of that particular print in the sequence.
For instance, the figure 50/100 indicates that the edition has been
limited to 100 prints and that this was the 50th print made. The print
should be signed in pencil by the artist, and the printing plate or
screen destroyed after the edition is completed.