Art Lingo


An acrylic solution is acrylic resin in a volatile solvent. Paints made with an acrylic solution binder resemble oil paints more than those made with acrylic emulsion binders. An acrylic emulsion is water dispersion of polymers or copolymers of acrylic acid, methacrylac acid, or acrylonitrile. Acrylic emulsions dry by evaporation of the water and film coalescence.


A type of intaglio printing. Aquatint is essentially a tonal rather than a linear process. To prepare the plate, powdered resin or asphalt is fused to the plate by heat. This leaves minute interstices that, when bitten by acid, result in a finely pitted surface.

Cancellation of Plate

The traditional method is for the artist to cancel the plate with some distinguishing mark when the edition has been completed.


A type of intaglio printing. Drypoint is achieved by drawing directly on the plate with a steel needle that throws up a ridge or metal known as the burr. The burr holds the ink and gives the printed line a velvety quality. Because of the fragility of the burr, a large edition cannot be pulled since the burr wears down quickly.

Egg Tempera

Technique of painting in which water and egg yolk or whole egg and oil mixture form the binder for the paint.


Literally, to burn in. A painting technique in which the binder is melted wax.


A type of intaglio printing. There is no acid bite, the copper plate image is engraved with a metal gouge or burin.


A type of intaglio printing. The plate is coated with a thin, waxy ground that is impervious to strong acid. The etcher draws through the ground with an etching needle to expose the copper beneath. The plate is immersed in acid and “bitten” or etched. After the etching process is completed, the plate is taken out of the acid and the ground is removed with solvent. The plate is then inked and wiped so that the ink is captured in the etched lines of the copper.


Commonly pronounced “zhee-clay”, glicée is an invented name for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing. The term is often used instead of inkjet in art shops. The word “glicée”, from the French language word “le gicleur” meaning “nozzle”, or more specifically “gicler” meaning” to squirt, spurt or spray. It was coined by Jack Duganne a printmaker working in the field, to represent any inkjet based digital print used as fine art. The intent of that name was to distinguish commonly known industrial “Iris proofs” from the type of fine art prints artists were producing on those same types of printers. The name was originally applied to fine art prints created on Iris printers in a process invented in the early 1990s but has since come to mean any high quality ink-jet print (Source: Wikipedia)


In intaglio printing, a plate, usually of metal, is used and the lines or areas that create the image are engraved into the plate by sharp incising tools or bitten by acid. Once the plate has been fully prepared and inked, it is “pulled” through the press under great pressure, forcing dampened paper into the grooves to pick up the ink thus forming the image. The plate is inked again for the next print. While the plate used is the same for each print in the edition, each print is inked individually. If two prints from the edition are held up side by side, variations can be seen easily. Each inking is a unique process. The plate mark (edge of the plate area) usually shows up on the paper as a line of indentation.


A type of relief printing. The surface of a sheet of linoleum is carved away to leave the areas of the design standing in relief. The sheet is then inked, and the image printed from the raised lines. More than one sheet would usually be used for a multi-colored images.


A type of planographics printing. The lithographic process involves drawing on certain kinds of smooth, porous stone with a special type of wax pencil. The stone, prepared using acid, gum arabic, and water, accepts ink applied with a roller to the drawn areas, but repels the ink over th rest of its dampened surface. The print is “pulled” under great pressure. The stone or plate must be re-inked for each subsequent print in the edition. Several stones or plates can be used for a multi-coloured print. The same stone can be ground dow and used for future lithographs.

Methods of print making

The main method used by artists in the creation of original prints are I. Intaglio: engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint, mezzotint. II. Relief: woodcut, wood engraving, linocut III Planographic: lithography and silkscreen,


A type of intaglio printing. The mezzotint method produces a deep velvety black in the print. The plate is roughened by a metal roller with sharp teeth, (a rocker). This roughened area holds the ink to produce a deep black area. The engraver must work from dark to light to create the image by scraping and burnishing the copper.

Mixed Media

In drawing and painting this refers to the use of different media in the same picture.

Oil Painting

The process of painting with pigments that bound with medium of drying oil — especially in early modern Europe, linseed oil. Often and oil, such as linseed, was boiled witty a resin such as pine resin or even frankincense, these were called ‘varnishes’ and were prized for their body and gloss. Other oils occasionally used include poppyseed oil, walnut oil and safflower oil. These oils give various properties to the oil paint, such as less yellowing or different trying times. Certain differences are also visible in the sheen of the paints depending on technique. Painters often use different oils in the same painting depending on specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a particular feel depending on the media (from Wikipedia).

Original Print

An original print is an image that has been conceived by the artist as a print and executed solely as a print,usually in numbered editions and signed by the artist. Each print is inked and pulled individually; it is a multi-original medium. The artist decided the number of prints in an edition. the sequential numbering provides and accounting for the number of prints in the edition. Each print has a specific number. There is no greater or lesser value attached to a low numbered print than a high numbered print since each print is inked individually and is an original. However any plate wears down eventually and thus later pullings of dry points, mezzotints engravings or woodcut may not be as desirable as earlier pulls. It is interesting to note that the numbering of prints has only in the last one hundred years become a standard convention. Prior to the mid 19th century, prints were not numbered or signed in pencil.


The printing surface is flat (as opposed to relief or the bitten-into process of intaglio). There is no indented plate line defining the boundaries of the print. There are two main media in this category, lithography and silkscreen.


An impression taken at any stage from the plate or stone, the artist’s proof, trial or working proof, etc. These are outside the edition number decided by the artist. Some artists number all proofs, i.e. Trial Proof II/III, thus keeping strict control over all proofs. Not all artists show or exhibit their working proofs.


The surface of a block of wood is carved away to leave the areas of the design standing in relief. The block is then inked, and the image printed from the raised lines. More than one block is usually used for a multi-coloured image. The two most common processes are woodcut and wood engraving. Other materials in addition to wood are also used, i.e. linocut.

Silkscreen or Serigraph

These two names are synonymous. A type of planographic printing The silkscreen is covered by a stencil, which helps to determine the design of the image. Coloured ink is applied through the screen by means of a squeegee. For each colour in a print, a new screen is prepared. Differences can be found form one print to another in an edition usually due to the difference in pressure on the squeegee.


A technique of painting using a binder made from a water-soluble gum. Watercolours can be transparent or opaque.

Wood engraving and woodcut

A type of relief printing. The surface of a block of wood is carved away to leave the areas of the design standing in relief. The block is then inked and the image printed from the raised lines. More than one block is usually used for a multi-colour image. In engraving the end grain of the wood is used and for woodcut, the carving is done along the grain of the wood.


We wish to thank the Art Dealers Association of Canada for permission to use many of the definitions from their brochure Prints– Guidelines and Definition. More guidelines on collecting art can be found on their website