Frequently used printmaking terms

A glossary of printmaking terms used in this website.


The word collage comes from the French coller – to glue, and is used for both the technique and the resulting art work. To make a collage, things such as paper, photographs, fabric, found objects … are stuck onto a support base and used to create an art work. My print-based collages are made from print editions where each print was cut into pieces. Read more about my collage technique here.

Image right: Barbed. Details below.


Collagraphs are prints made with printing plates that have had things glued down on them – textured materials with different ink holding capacities, so that the plate is essentially a collage. By choosing the shape and placements of these materials, an image is formed when the plate is inked and printed. I mostly make collagraph printing plates using real plants.
Collagraph takes its name from the French colle, meaning glue (or Greek koll/ kolla = glue), and the Greek graphos, meaning drawing.

Image:  Collagraph plate for Southern Cross.  Details below.

The base for a collagraph plate (or substrate, or matrix – different words for the same thing) is any suitable thin flat surface – metal, thin wood such as plywood, plastic, straw board, matt board etc. I use straw board or mat board, with a preference for mat board. The finished plate is shellacked, and I also pre-shellac because I like the colour this gives to my plates.

In printmaking, an edition is a set of multiple impressions (multiples), or printings, taken off the same printing plate, either by the artist or under the supervision of the artist. Each work in an edition has unique qualities and they can vary slightly between each other because they are created individually. They are each an original works of art.

A reproduction, on the other hand, is considered a copy/facsimile of the original art work. It is not created in the same medium as the original artwork, but is usually photographed or scanned, and then commercially printed. It is not an artwork itself. Producing a reproduction does not typically involve the original artist. Instead, a digital image is usually created of the work, and that file can then be used to reproduce it on any surface in any size. Examples of reproductions include giclee prints, posters, print-on-demand items such as pillows, garments, cards, etc.

Open Editions don’t have a fixed number of prints in the edition.  New prints can be created on demand.

Limited Editions have a fixed number of prints made at the beginning of the edition’s creation, and no more are made should the original edition sell out. The printing plates of limited edition fine art prints are sometimes defaced or destroyed, so that it is impossible to pull prints once the fixed number is reached.  I keep my plant-based collagraph plates, but only sell them framed, and heavily varnished to render them unsuitable for reprinting.

Viscosity Printing

Viscosity Printing allows the printing two or (many) more colours from a single plate, rather than using a separate plate for each colour. The plate needs to be textured and have several levels. Both intaglio and relief  inking techniques are used, and the process depends on the principle that oil based inks with different viscosities or thicknesses will not mix. The plate is first inked intaglio style with normal intaglio ink and wiped. The other colours are less stiff and each one has a different viscosity.  They are applied with harder and softer rollers, with different effects if the softer roller is applied first or last.
The banner image is a viscosity print.

Details of images.

Please Contact me to arrange a purchase.

Banner image
Storm Mountain, © Jacky Lowry, Viscosity Printed Collagraph. Framed behind glass.
Image size: 12 cm x 28.5 cm
Frame Size: 22.5 x 39.5 cm
Price: AUD$ 220 plus P&P

Jacky Lowry, collaged linoprint edition. Art.

Image: Barbed, © Jacky Lowry, Collaged parts of a linocut print edition, varnished and framed without glass.
Image size: 11.5 x 13.5 cm
Frame size: 15.5 x.15.5 cm
Price: AU$ 45 plus P&P

The Southern Cross plate and prints below are part of my Collagraphs – Albany Surroundings Collection.  See more of this collection on my Artwork Archive Page.

Image: Southern Cross, © Jacky Lowry, collagraph printing plate, varnished and framed without glass.
Plate size: 12 cm x 10.5 cm
Frame Size: 22 cm x 20 cm
Price: AUD$ 100 plus P&P


Image: Southern Cross © Jacky Lowry, collagraph print on paper.
Image Size:12 cm x 10.5 cm
Paper size: 14 cm x 11.5 cm
Price: AUD$ 40 plus P&P, unframed
1/14 – 5/14, 8/14 – 14/14, and two proofs are available.


Please contact me to arrange a purchase.