Printmaking is a traditional process of creating art by transferring an image onto paper using a variety of methods and has been with us for hundreds of years. Printmaking creates single or multiple prints from matrix’s, normally called plates. It differs from printing in that it does not seek to create exact duplicates or copies.
Plates are worked on by the artist using a variety of techniques and tools, to create an image. When the plate is inked up, paper is placed over it and, using downward pressure, the image is transferred from plate to paper. As the process is repeated, variations will appear which ensure each print is unique, meaning that each print is not a copy but an original.
With the exception of artists proofs, (marked A/P), which allow the artist to further manipulate the plate after printing to achieve the required effect, the number of copies should be individually numbered to enable potential purchasers to know how many were created. For example, 2/25 will inform the viewer that what they are looking at is the second print from a run, or edition, of 25. The printmaker must only use this plate again if it is clearly indicated that it is a ‘second edition’ print.