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Glossary

Engraving
The intaglio process in which the design is incised into a printing plate, usually a flat copper plate, with the aid of a graver or burin that is held in the palm of the hand and pushed against the copper to cut lines comprising V-shaped grooves. The plate is then inked up, wiped so that ink is retained in the grooves and then forced out under the pressure of the printing process to create lines on the paper. The technique was first developed in the early 15th century in Germany, probably by goldsmiths who wished to keep records of the designs they had engraved on their wares. The process is distinct from "wood engraving (process)," which is a process for relief printing; "wood cut (process)" refers to engraving wood blocks for printing. Historically, "engraving" has sometimes been used incorrectly to refer to all printmaking processes, particulalry any process employing printing plates.
Etching
Intaglio process in which the design is worked into an acid-resistant substance coating the metal printing plate; the plate is then exposed to acid, which etches the plate where the metal is exposed, to create lines and dark areas. For the single step of exposing the plate to acid, use “biting.”
Intaglio (printing processes)
Processes in which the image prints from ink held in the recessed areas of the plate or block.)
Gouache
A method of painting with matte, opaque watercolor paint. Gouache painting employs opaque layers of color rather than the transparent washes used in the aquarelle technique, due to the differing pigment densities of the media.
Vellum
Fine-quality calf or lamb parchment used for writing, illuminations, or binding books. The terms "vellum" and "parchment" are sometimes confused and used interchangeably.
Watercolor
The technique of painting with pigments in a water-soluble binder and thinned with water, usually on paper. Includes gouache painting, although gouache is not technically watercolor paint.
Woodblock
Blocks of wood on which designs, words, or other images are cut to print, usually as relief images, whether on paper, fabric, or other material.
Woodcut
A relief process in which the design is cut into and printed from the plank side of a wood block; distinct from wood engraving, which is a relief process using the grain end of a wood block.