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What is a print anyway?

Sometimes when people say "prints" they are referring to reproductions, such as a poster depicting an oil painting.

When we say "prints" we mean original paper and ink artworks created through a special transfer process. In other words, we are talking about real art, usually handmade one item at a time.

Unlike drawing or painting, printmaking begins when an artist creates an image on a substrate such as wood, metal or stone. The design is inked, and then the ink is transferred to paper through various methods. For example a carved or scratched surface can be inked and then pressed into paper, or visa-versa with the paper being pressed onto or into an inked surface. Or the inks can be forced through a stencil-like medium using a squeegee-style tool. The art that emerges from the process is known as a print, and each one is unique because the amount of ink and the pressures applied during printing always differ a little.

The most common types of prints are woodblock prints (aka "woodcuts"), lithographs, etchings, engravings, serigraphs and linocuts. If you are keenly interested in the various print-making processes, we recommend that you visit Wikipedia, YouTube, or any of the many specialty Internet sites devoted to prints and printmaking. For links to informative destinations on the World Wide Web, see the "How Prints are Made" listings in the left-hand column of any page.