A technical dictionary of printmaking, André
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- Generally speaking the term covers all artistic and industrial techniques
using incisions to make lines, values, and reliefs.
- More specifically the term is used to cover all artistic and industrial
techniques whose objective it is to create a relief or intaglio printing element
which serves to reproduce images or texts. The result of such work is also known as
Manual engraving (line engraving*
, etching*, etc.) can be distinguished
from mechanical or semi-mechanical engraving
(stamping*) and from photomecanicall
or photochemical engraving (
To these different types of engraving may be added electrochemical
processes such as electrotyping,
electro-etch © and the various
Among the manual processes some use a tool
and some a mordant*, the chief distinction
between types of engraving are those techniques using relief engraving as opposed to
those using intaglio engraving.
- Another use of the term engraving designates an impression made from an engraved
plate. At times this term is also used (but incorrectly so) to designate
lithographic prints and even silk screen prints.
Engravings done by artists, as opposed to those done by copyists, are very often
inferior in terms of technique but in the course of the history of art artists
often contributed a certain creativity lacking in otherwise technically perfect
BROAD MANNER ENGRAVING.
A type of line engraving in which the lines are widely spaced. This term must not be
confused with what the French call "gravure libre", which only refers to the spirit
of an engraving.
CHIAR0SCUR0 OR CAMAlEU.
A woodcut made with several blocks in order to print colour impressions
wood]. In the past the term was also used for
engravings imitating "lavis" (wash) work [
* brush etching].
COLOUR ENGRAVING. Engraving done on one or more plates which are used to
print a colour impression. Colour engraving is distinct from coloured engraving
since the latter is printed in one colour, usually black, and then coloured by hand.
Colour engravings must also be distinguished from those engravings which are printed
with coloured or black ink onto coloured paper [
See engraving (interpretative).
FINE MANNER ENGRAVING.
Line engraving in which the lines drawn are very close to each other. The term is
used in opposition to broad manner engraving.
Intaglio or relief engraving done either by galvanoplasty or by using an
electrolytic bath as a mordant*
in order to create an intaglio plate
[electro-etch © ,
"GRAVURE DES PEINTRES".
A French term describing etching that may be
translated as "painter's engraving". The reason for this is that etching, as a
medium, allows painters to express themselves freely whereas in line engraving they
must learn the technique of using a graver or a burin. In fact, when etching,
artists can use the etching needle in much the same way as a brush or a pencil.
A French term which has much the same meaning as the english
term "original engraving" coined by A.M.Hind. Both terms are used to distinguish
engravings made by artists themselves as opposed to engravings made by professionals
copying someone else's design. This distinction was first made in the 16th century
by Parmigianino. Actually both terms are almost synonymous with etching since it was
this engraving medium that allowed for original engravings. These two terms may be
opposed to line engraving and especially to what the French call
"gravure rangée" since both, but especially the latter, are the outcome of
A French term which is used to designate engravings in which
the lines are technically perfect, being very rigorously cut. The term can be used
in opposition to original engraving or "gravure libre"
An engraving in which the plate or block has not been cut by the author of the design
but by a professional engraver. In interpretative engraving the engraver does not
attempt to slavishly reproduce the drawing before him but rather interprets the
picture because of technical reasons, as is the case in woodcuts, because of his
fantasy, or even because he lacks the necessary skill. An example of a technical
reason for interpretation is the copying of a wash drawing which can hardly be copied
faithfully using only lines. Interpretative engraving is thus in opposition to
reproductive engraving since the latter is used to faithfully transpose an
image [* wood].
Such engraving is in opposition to tonic value engraving since the lines of
the engraving faithfully follow the lines* of the design [* wood].
Line engraving in which the lines cross in an oblique pattern forming lozenge
ORIGINAL ENGRAVING. Original engravings are those in which the plate or block
was made by the same artist who drew the design.
PUNCH ENGRAVING. A technique which results in values using only dotted
REPRODUCTIVE ENGRAVING. See engraving (interpretative).
SAND BLAST ENGRAVING. Metal engraving usually on zinc plates using a sand let
and a stencil. [graining ,
SIMPLE ENGRAVING. This term is usually used for engravings in which the
lines are never crossed and in which the values are obtained by
swelling the lines
[ line engraving ,
STIPPLE ENGRAVING. Generally speaking stipple engravings are characterized
by little hollows or dots on the plate which are used to create half tones.
The stippling can be done in a variety of ways.
TONIC VALUE ENGRAVING. A woodcut which renders a drawing done with a brush.
In order for the woodcut to do this there must be a certain amount of interpretation.
Because of this tonic value engraving is often called interpretative engraving
WHITE LINE ENGRAVING.
 Engraving in which the design is white on a black background [
 A relief engraving process carried out on a zinc plate whose results
are similar to white line woodcuts. Such engravings are meant to be printed on a
printing press. The design or image is cut into the plate and is thus not inked.
This process was mostly used during the 19th century for technical illustrations.
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