Terminology

Engraving
A method of cutting or incising a design into a material, usually metal, with a sharp tool called a graver. One of the intaglio methods of making prints, in engraving, a print can be made by inking such an incised (engraved) surface.

Etching
An intaglio printing process in which an etching needle is used to draw into a wax ground applied over a metal plate. The plate is then submerged in a series of acid baths, each biting into the metal surface only where unprotected by the ground. The ground is removed, ink is forced into the etched depressions, the unetched surfaces wiped, and an impression is printed.

Intaglio
The collective term for several graphic processes in which prints are made from ink trapped in the grooves in an incised metal plate. Etchings and engravings are the most typical examples.

Linoleum cut, linocut
A linoleum block or plate used for making relief prints. Linoleum is a durable, washable material formerly used more for flooring as vinyl flooring is used today. It is usually backed with burlap or canvas, and may be purchased adhered to a wooden block. The linoleum can be cut in much the same way woodcuts are produced, however its surface is softer and without grain.

Lithography
In the graphic arts, a method of printing from a prepared flat stone or metal or plastic plate, invented in the late eighteenth century. A drawing is made on the stone or plate with a greasy crayon or tusche, and then washed with water. When ink is applied it sticks to the greasy drawing but runs off (or is resisted by) the wet surface allowing a print — a lithograph — to be made of the drawing. The artist, or other print maker under the artist’s supervision, then covers the plate with a sheet of paper and runs both through a press under light pressure. For color lithography separate drawings are made for each color.

Mezzotint
In printmaking, an engraving process that is tonal rather than linear, or prints produced by this process. Developed in the seventeenth century, a copper or steel plate is first worked all over with a curved, serrated tool called a rocker, raising burrs over the surface to hold the ink and print as a soft dark tone. The design is then created in lighter tones by scraping out and burnishing areas of the roughened plate so that they hold less ink, or none in highlights. Details may be sharpened by engraving or etching in a “mixed mezzotint.”