Prints are works of art on paper that have been conceived by the artist to appear as a print, rather than as a photographic reproduction. Prints are produced by drawing or carving a composition on a hard surface such as a wood block, metal plate or stone. The surface is then inked and the image is transferred to paper by the application of pressure, also known as an 'impression'. An edition is the total number of impressions made of a single work.

Artists who use a computer to create or manipulate their works often use a large-scale ink jet printer to print them. These complex printers use a sophisticated print head to disperse the ink on the paper in a fine mist of droplets in order to deliver a continuous tone image. The distinction as to whether a digital print is an "original print" is determined by whether the work was created by the artist to be realized as a print. A digital print of work that originated as a painting or drawing is a reproduction and therefore is not an original print.

Literally, "stone drawing", the artist draws or paints the composition on the flat surface of a stone with a greasy crayon or liquid. The design is chemically fixed on the stone with a weak solution of acid and gum arabic. In printing, the stone is flooded with water which is absorbed everywhere except where repelled by the greasy ink. Oil-based printer's ink is then rolled on the stone, which is repelled in turn by the water soaked areas and accepted only by the drawn designs. The stone is then run through the press with paper under light pressure, the final print showing neither a raised nor embossed quality by lying entirely on the surface of the paper. A transfer lithograph employs the same technique, but the design is drawn on specially prepared transfer paper with a lithographic crayon and is later mechanically transferred to the stone.

In this process, a separate screen is required for each color in the artist's composition and the same piece of paper must be printed with each of them in turn. For each screen, a pattern of fabric or paper is cut and attached to the mesh to block the flow of that particular color to the sheet of paper beneath it. A squeegee is used to force the paint through the exposed areas of the mesh. This technique is often referred to as serigraphy, a term coined to distinguish between commercial and artistic screenprinting.

An artist's proof is a practice that dates back to the era when an artist commissioned to execute a print was provided with lodging, living expenses, and a printing studio with workmen, supplies and paper. The artist was given a portion of the edition (to sell) as payment for his work. Today, though artists get paid for their editions, the tradition has persisted and a certain number of impressions are put aside for the artist. Artist's proofs are annotated as such or as A.P. or E.A.

A printer's proof is a complimentary proof given to the printer. There can be from one to several of these proofs, depending on the number of printers involved and the generosity of the artist.

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