An original print is a work of art created by hand and printed by hand, either by the artist or by a professional assistant (often called an artisan), from a plate, block, stone, wood block & other matrix or stencil. The image my be hand drawn, but it may not be mandatory hand printed. In fact, for all graphic techniques, with the exception of two, the image on the matrix, which is printing is a mirror image or opposite to that which occurs in the finished work. The image is turn in case of the process of printing, so the artist must think and draw mirror image.
     The artist alone must create the master image on whatever material is used to make the print. It is not a copy or a reproduction of anything. The original print is usually produced as a limited number of impressions, another word for print. Each print produced is technically a unique work although produced as a signed and numbered multiple. Each original print is a work of art in its own right, one of a limited edition.

     Traditionally the print have to be signed and numbered by the artist to be an original E/A (Epreuve d `Artiste). Using a pencil the artist signs each print with the title, technique, signature, year of create and a fraction showing its position in the edition. They are numbered to indicate how many prints there are in the edition and to identify the individual print. This number appears written as a fraction, for example: 15 / 60 (or Roman numbers). This is called the edition number. The number to the right of the slash indicates the size of the edition: 60 prints have been produced. The number to the left is the actual number of the print. The numbering sequence does not necessarily indicate the sequence of printing.
     There is additional quantity of prints, except numbered copies. This may include: Artist Proof (A/P), Bon-a `-tirer (V.A.T.), Epreuve d`atelier, Hors Commerce (Н/С), Posthumous.
     The artist traditionally keeps a separate group of prints aside from the edition marked as artist's proofs, normally about ten or less. The extra ten are marked A/P (Artists Proof), sometimes with an edition number after (such as: A / P 3 / 7) to indicate how many A / P's there are. They are valued above numbered prints by collectors because of their association with the artist. During the course of developing the image an artist may pull many experimental images before modifying the plates to achieve the finished product.
     Epreuve d`atelier or Epreuve d`essai means .attempts by the studio.. These prints are testing samples of different levels through the creation of a graph. The artist works on a matrix and after each stage can make a test print to verify the results. They are printed in limited editions and are much more rarely by the final prints. They show the first plans of the artist and are therefore much sought by the collectors.
     When the image is ready shall be make a printing test or a Bon-a `-tirer, initialed V.A.T. - good for printing, can start printing. This is the image you need to match the rest of the circulation, and this impression is only one. Traditional the printer wishes to keep for yourself this test print.
     At the end of 1950 began to appear outside of the numbered prints additional copies with Arabic numbers, such as Horse commerce (H/C) out of the market (not for sale).

     The early prints have never signed and numbered. The practice did not start until the later part of the 19th century. Before that instead of signing each print in pencil, the artist signs in the plate, in which case the signature appears printed. Today this tradition is taken as a "signing plate" which is deceptive. By the second half of the 19th century the graphics were rarely manually signed with pencil or ink by the artist. Signatures were put when graphic is sold or given. Tradition to sign the graphic is becoming more popular when the artists and publishers understand that if there is a possibility collector prefers to buy signed prints. At the beginning of 1920 almost all graphic makers began to sign it with pencil or ink. One of the earliest proponents of the practice was Whistler. So this practice now is a general rule.
     The photo mechanical reproduction of paintings and drawings are often described as .Fine Art Prints. but this term is misleading as they are not works of art, even if they have an artist.s signature. An Original Print is not a reproduction. It is the multiplied original work of art. The artist creates with his own hand the artwork directly onto the printing stock (plate, screen, stone etc.). The complicated graphic techniques make it necessary for the artist to study and acquire special abilities and knowledge for each chosen medium. Each Original print is then pulled by hand from one or more printing stocks (not necessarily by the artist himself). Each so created print is an "Original Print". It does not matter whether 1 or 100 prints have been made. But the artist usually limits the edition and approves it with his signature. (This can influence the price, but not the originality).
     Finally, the plate is cancelled by scratching a line through the image. A print made from a scratched plate is called a .cancellation print.. It ensures that further prints cannot be made and the numbered impression can be trusted.

     Graphic techniques enable the artist to reach many more owners with one of his work prints opposed to paintings or sculptures, which can be owned by only one person. Although the same image is owned by different people, each of them is considered "original circulated."
     In 1960 Vienna International Association of Plastic Arts defines what the original schedule. Organization composed only of artists, determined that "artwork", from beginning to end, at every stage of its creation was the work of the artist himself. Council of American graphic artist went further and added that to be perceived as an .original artwork., prints must be signed, dated and numbered. This allows the buyer to know how much and who ones hold. When an artist announces limited edition, it must be destroyed plate or stone to make sure the collector that no more prints can be made. This is possible if the author modify the image to create a second edition, changing the image, papre or color.

     Original Printmaking has a long history. Woodcuts have been invented by Chinese Buddhist monks in 868. Western artists like Rembrandt made Etchings and Engravings (Antique Prints) long before the photomechanical Reproduction was developed around 1900. Original Prints like any other Original Art are also bought and sold at Art Auctions and can have investment value. Some modern Original Prints sell for ten thousands of Dollars. Original Print combines a considerable degree of skill, artistic ability, and technical knowledge and Art Consultants agree - better to buy a good Original Print than a bad oil painting.

     So the main requirements for original prints are:
    1. artist has created his own image on the plate, stone, wood block or material for printing graphics
    2. print is made by the artist himself or under his control printer and instructions
    3. complete graphic is approved by the artist.
    4. If the artist announced a limited edition, it must ensure that by removing the matrix (destruction or change in a brand new work).
     This is very important because today many artists use photomechanical processes for producing graphics, calling them original works of art and demanding huge sums of money when in fact they cost no more than a cheap poster.
     Below we will look at various methods for creating graphics. There are three "generalities" of printmaking: intaglio methods, relief methods, and planographic methods.

Common Print Terms

Epreuve d `Artiste (E/A) - A copy to the author, hand signing and numbering. The signature usually appears on the lower centre margin and the edition numbers below. On the left is the title of the work but on the right- the name of the artist and year of creating.

Artist Proof (A/P ) - Experiments for the use of the artist outside of the regular edition.

Epreuve d`atelier (Epreuve d`essai) - .attempts by the studio.. These prints are testing samples of different levels through the creation of a graph and often are valuable for the collectors.

Bon-a `-tirer (V.A.T) - The image is ready for printing, then the best to print is the last test print. There is only one such sample. This is approved by the artist print and the way he wants to look his graphic.

Hors Commerce (Н.С.) - Out of the market, not for sale. These samples began to appear on the market as part of the issued edition after 1960. These samples have no traditional functions but are an additional tool for increasing edition outside ofthe numbered graphs.

Posthumous - Posthumously edition is when printing from a matrix of a deceased artist.

Edition Size - A completed run of prints is usually limited. There appears to be no minimum or maximum number used. Editions of 100 or less are considered small. Original prints have been executed to accompany written texts, and such editions may number in the thousands.

The Difference Between Monoprints and Monotypes:
     These two terms are often confused with each other. A monoprint is the term for any individual original print that is part of a limited edition as opposed to a reproduction which is a copy of something else, such as a poster print of a painting. A monoprint can also be any of a number of prints pulled from a single plate, but with no attempt to print any two the same way. A monotype however is a unique work of art usually printed from a smooth flat surface such as a sheet of plastic. The artist paints by hand the image to be printed directly on this smooth surface and then places a sheet of paper over the freshly painted surface, cranks it through a press, and so creates a one-of-a-kind work of art. Monotypes, by their nature, cannot be produced as an edition. If they are numbered at all they are numbered as 1/1 (read as "one of one").