Art prints are everywhere, but what are they exactly?
First, let’s discuss printmaking. Printmaking is a hand-made process of creating images on paper, often resulting in multiple works of art. There are several different types of printmaking – like engravings, lithographs, and screenprints. The technique and paper used varies by artist.
Here are a few common types of printmaking:
Engraving - Think Rembrandt. Intaglio printing is one of the oldest forms of printmaking. Etchings are made by engraving an image into a metal plate, applying ink, and then running it through a printing press onto paper. There are different types of intaglio prints, like engravings, etchings, and drypoints.
Lithograph - This process involves a stone (litho-). An artist draws the image onto a piece of stone with a greasy medium, and then will use oil-based ink to grab onto the image, which is then printed onto paper.
Screenprint - Screenprints were made most famous by Andy Warhol. An artist creates a stencil on a screen, which is placed above a piece of paper. Ink is then pushed through the screen, transferring the image onto the paper. They can use several inks and pass through the screen multiple times.
These techniques result in multiple prints, but they are original works of art. This is different from art prints. Keep reading –
Art Prints 101:
Art prints are a digital reproduction of an already existing original work of art. Let’s say an artist creates a beautiful watercolor painting. She may decide to create prints of this work to sell. This involves taking a high-quality photo or scan of the work, and printing the high-res image onto paper.
Many artists do this as a way to provide affordable, accessible ways to collect their work. They may have an inkjet printer at home, or use a professional print shop. They make sure their image is high quality, and they choose the best type of paper for their needs.
All types of prints can be limited editions or open editions.
A limited edition is a set number of prints that are made. Each print is numbered, so a collector knows it’s limited and which number his/her print is of the edition.
An open edition has no limit on how many prints can be printed.
Art prints are a great way to buy art without breaking the bank. Prints can cost as little as a few dollars, or be slightly more expensive (like if it’s a giclee, an extremely high-quality print).