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Recognizing the Different Types of Prints

There are many methods, including engraving with a burin, etching with acid, and lithography. Being able to identify these methods is an important step.

The soft cut

It is a method of engraving a pattern into a matrix. It is divided into two categories: direct when the artist directly engraves a metal plate or indirect when acid is used to carve the metal. Engraving with a burin The matrix is a copper or steel plate engraved by the artist with a burin. The engraver transfers painted compositions into engraving. These engravings are recognized by the regularity of the incisions made on the copper plate by the engraver's chisel.

Etching with acid

The copper plate is coated with a bitumen using a stylus, the pattern that the artist wants to obtain by ensuring that the stylus removes a part of it. The plate is then submerged in an acid bath. The acid attacks the previously stripped areas, thus creating the pattern desired by the artist in reliet. This technique allows for a more free, more varied line, and more easily varying intensity.


This technique uses a stone as a matrix. It is coated with ink that allows for multiple copies. It is often used with patterns and large areas of color.

Prints resulting from the collaboration of an engraver and a painter carry their names. On ancient prints, they are preceded by the mentions "sculpit" for the engraver and "pinxit" for the painter. The name of the engraver is specified at the bottom left and that of the painter at the bottom right.

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