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editioning

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When developing a print a series of ‘proofs’ are made to determine how the final print should look. These are exploratory prints and are called Artists Proofs. They can be unique as various colourways are explored or the plate altered.

Gordon Miles and Alan Williams editioning for Valerie Ganz

Editioning is the process of producing a defined number of copies of the final print. This can be anything from under 10 up to 500 or more depending on how successful the printmaker is at selling his or her prints. It is not unusual for a printmaker to print only part of the edition initially and to print more only when these have been sold. In this case, proofs must be kept to carefully match the earlier edition copies and notes on how the colours were mixed are essential.

An edition can be printed by the artist or a professional printer. It is essential that the artist is fully involved in the process of making the blocks, plates or screens, otherwise the process is more akin to a commercial reproduction than an original print.

Finished prints are signed by the artist in pencil to signify they are approved. This is usually done on the lower right hand corner under the image. If there is a title, it is usually in the middle. All prints are given a unique number. 8/50 is the eighth print from a limited edition of 50 for example.

Once the edition has been printed it is usual to cancel the blocks in some way by defacing them. A print can be taken as evidence of this.

Good quality paper should be used for an edition.

We stock the following range of paper which can be bought at any open access session. If you are editioning we can order in paper specifically for you.

We encourage members to produce small editions as it is a good discipline and develops skills and experience in all aspects of printmaking.