Aquatint - An etching process in which areas of a metal plate are dusted with fine, acid-resistant particles such as powdered resin. The uncovered areas are then bitten away by acid to create a granular surface that produces soft, tonal effects.
Engraving - An intaglio printing process in which the lines are incised into the plate with a burin. A burin is a cutting tool with a V-shaped point that is pushed into the plate, creating channels for the ink that tend to be deeper and more controlled than etched lines.
Etching - An intaglio printing process using acid to create an image on a metal plate. The design is scratched through an acid-resistant coating with a needle, exposing the metal below. Dipping the plate into an acid bath bites away the lines of the design. This plate can then be inked and pressed against paper to produce a print.
Intaglio - A general term covering etching and related printing techniques such as engraving and drypoint in which the ink that yields the image is held by recessed lines incised into a matrix (plate).
Monoprint - Ink is applied to a flat surface (traditionally a copperplate), typically by brushing it on or covering the entire plate and then wiping or daubing it away to create a design. While still damp the plate is run through a press, sometimes yielding two or three impressions. Impressions after the first are called "cognates."
Softground - A variant means of etching in which a softground, acid-resistant coating is used. The design is typically made by placing a sheet of paper over the coated plate and making a drawing, which presses into the ground to create a granular, tonal effect.
State - Every intentional alteration of a plate from which a printed impression survives is designated as a separate state. An artist often takes impressions during the evolution of the image on the plate in order to check its progress. These preliminary states are generally termed "proofs."
Woodblock Print - A print made from a block of wood that is carved along the grain to eliminate the background and leave the image in relief. The raised lines are inked and pressed against paper to create the print. A color woodcut is a relief print produced with different blocks, each imprinting a separate color.
Copyright © 2008 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC