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Jim Dine: The Glyptotek Drawings Online Exhibition | Thaw Conservation Center

Jim Dine: Drawing with Light

Read more: Intro | Translucent vs. Opaque | Building up the Layers | Putting Light into the Drawings | Drawings to Printing Plates | Glossary | Sources

Glossary of Terms

Aquatint grain: An overall pattern that is applied to a printing plate to reproduce tone in printed form. This is accomplished by depositing a fine particulate layer of asphaltum or rosin dust on the surface of a printing plate. When exposed to acid, the voids around these particles are etched, creating a series of ink-holding recesses.

Charcoal: A black drawing medium that is the carbon by-product of burned wood or other organic materials. Charcoal for drawing is typically sold in two types: wood or vine charcoal — carbonized twigs of wood or vine — and compressed charcoal — ground charcoal compressed into stick form with little or no binder. Wood or vine charcoal tends to have a brown undertone, while compressed charcoal is a denser black.

Drypoint: An intaglio printmaking technique in which recessed lines are created directly on the printing plate using sharp metal tools. When printed, drypoint lines have a distinct soft appearance.

Enamel paint: A glossy, quick-drying paint that can have an oil or resin binder.

Etch: The chemical removal of metal from a printing plate using an acidic solution, such as ferric chloride.

Ferric chloride: An acidic solution made by dissolving iron (III) chloride (FeCl3) in water. When used to create intaglio printing plates, the ferric chloride eats away, or etches, the exposed areas of the metal printing plate to create ink-holding recesses.

Graphite: A naturally occurring silvery-black drawing material that is an allotropic form of carbon. Graphite is mixed with clay to create a variety of hardnesses used as pencil leads or drawing sticks.

Heliogravure: An intaglio printmaking process also known as photogravure. Traditionally, this process uses light in combination with a continuous tone photographic film positive transparency to create an acid-resistant gelatin ground on a copper printing plate. To create this ground, the transparency is placed over a photosensitive layer of gelatin and exposed to an ultraviolet-containing light source. Areas of the gelatin that are exposed to light are hardened in proportion to the amount of light that penetrates the transparency, making these areas of gelatin less soluble and more acid resistant. This gelatin layer is then bonded to a plate prepared with an aquatint grain. The plate is then placed in a series of ferric chloride solutions used to etch the surface of the copper to transfer the image from the transparency to the printing plate. In the case of the heliogravure prints in Dine's Glyptotek, the Glyptotek Drawings were used as the positive transparencies. The elimination of the photographic film positive transparency is often referred to as direct gravure.

India Ink: A modern, waterproof, black ink that contains a carbon black pigment, shellac, and a borax emulsifier.

Intaglio: A category of printmaking processes in which the image is created by recessed lines or textured areas below the surface of a metal plate. These recesses can be achieved by manual removal of the metal or by chemical removal using acid. To print the image, the plate is inked and wiped, leaving ink only in the recessed areas, and then printed onto a damp sheet of paper using a printing press. Characteristically, the printed ink is raised above the surface of the paper and the print often bears a plate mark. Intaglio includes engraving, drypoint, mezzotint, etching, aquatint, and heliogravure.

Intaglio plate scraper: A three-sided steel tool used to scrape away unwanted lines or burrs from intaglio plates.

Kneaded eraser: A soft pliable eraser that is made of rubber, oil, abrasives, and proprietary ingredients.

Lithographic crayon: A black greasy stick used to draw directly onto a lithographic stone or plate. Lithographic crayons contain wax, tallow, soap, natural resin, and lamp-black pigment in varying proportions to produce five to seven hardnesses. Crayons come in the form of square sticks that are approximately two inches long, or the same ingredients can be cast into rods and wrapped in paper to create lithographic pencils.

Marker: A drawing instrument with a fiber tip to which a constant supply of ink is supplied from an attached reservoir.

Pastel: A soft drawing stick made from finely ground natural or synthetic pigments mixed with a small amount of a water-soluble binder and a filler.

Spray fixative: A clear acrylic resin applied as a mist to a work of art with the purpose of adhering friable media. Commercial fixatives are sold in aerosol containers.

Spray paint: A liquid paint that is applied as a mist to a substrate. Commercial spray paints are sold in aerosol containers.

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Jim Dine: The Glyptotek Drawings exhibition page »

vi Direct gravure is a term used in David Morrish and Marlene MacCallum, Copper Plate Photogravure: Demystifying the Process. New York: Focal Press, 2003. p. 148–149. Also see: Sacilotto, Deli. Photographic Printmaking Techniques. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1982. pp. 108–109.
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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.