University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Glossary of Bookplate Printing Techniques

An intaglio process in which the plate is carefully and evenly covered with a powdered resin dust and heated, so that each particle of dust becomes crystallized and adheres firmly to the plate. The particles leave small exposed sections of the plate, which are then bitten by immersion in acids. Through a series of resin treatments delicate gradations of tone can be produced. The aquatint is characterized by a fine or coarse grainy texture of tones and no lines.

An intaglio method made by applying a sharp tool or diamond-pointed needle directly to the copper plate. The needle tears into the smooth copper plate leaving a rough edge known as a "burr" along the side of the line. This burr gives a character of fuzziness to the drypoint line but quickly wears away in the etching press, so it is suitable only to small editions. Drypoint is printed under pressure on dampened paper as in an etching.

The method of cutting into metal with a burin (a V-shaped hard steel graver), The pressure of the tool creates the lines in the metal. The engraved plate is inked so that the lines are filled, and the surface is wiped clean.

An intaglio method in which drawn marks are eaten into a metal plate by acid or chemical means rather than cut out with a tool. An acid-resistant ground is thinly coated and dried on a plate. The artist draws through the ground with any of various tools to expose the metal. The plate is immersed in an acid bath that chemically dissolves the exposed metal, creating depressed lines or areas that can be inked and printed.

Printing methods in which the image is cut into a plate; ink is applied to the recessed areas of the printing plate. The press squeezes the paper into the grooves in the plate, and the paper receives the ink from the recessed lines. One of the distinguishing characteristics of these methods is that the dried ink impression stands up from the paper in slight relief perceptible by running one's finger across the print or by close examination. Examples of intaglio processes are aquatint, engraving, etching, drypoint, and mezzotint.

A relief print, much like a woodcut, using battleship linoleum rather than wood. The linoleum is somewhat easier to cut and has a more uniform surface than wood. Reduction linoleum cuts require the artist to continue to reduce the matrix for each additional color printed.

A printmaking process in which a drawing is made on stone or on a metal plate (chemically treated to resemble the Bavarian limestone surface) with a greasy material. The surface is prepared so that the image takes the ink, while the non-image areas repel it. The inked image is transferred to paper by pressure using a lithographic press. A separate plate is required for each color in a lithograph. For example, a six-color lithograph would require six separately drawn plates; each print would be run through the press six times. Ink rests on top of surface.

Relief print
A print in which the non-image areas have been cut away. The remaining surface is inked and printed. Woodcuts and linoleum cuts are relief prints.
Ink rests on raised areas.

Relief prints made from a piece of wood that has been cut with a knife, gouge, or chisel. Generally a solid plank of wood or plywood is used, depending on the surface and grain desired.