About Printmaking and Original Prints

At its simplest, we can define an original print as an artwork created using a mechanical process.  The artist will have created an image on block, stone, plate or screen from which the final print is produced. 

These works are NOT reproductions. They are not copies of a painting or a drawing, the prints are the 'original' artwork.

A wonderful example of this is in Stone Lithography where the arists works directly onto the Lithographic Stone to create the plate.  This video shows the process far better than I can explain it.

Just like a photographic negative isn't the photograph the printing plate is not the original but one step in the process.

Where this has begun to get a little more complicated is with the advent of digital technology and the rise of the "Limited Edition Giclee".  

A giclée print is a rather grand term for an ‘inkjet’ print. It derives its name from the French verb for ‘squirt, spurt or spray’, as generally giclée prints are produced with an inkjet printer (where the ink ‘spurts’ through a nozzle).

You will often come across “limited edition giclée” copies of paintings and prints – but it’s always worth remembering that these are reproductions – not originals.

However, we’re not against the use of digital techniques in printmaking – there are a number of artists producing work for which the digital print IS the finished result. 

A wonderful example of this is Jill Ray's digital prints. Jill's printing plate is simply a digital file rather than an solid object.


Corinna Button in her studio

Corinna Button in her studio

Stanage Edge 1 by Jill Ray

Stanage Edge 1 by Jill Ray