Commonly referred to as a silkscreen print, a serigraph is created this way: A screen of porous material, usually silk, nylon or polyester is stretched tightly across a frame. For every color used in the original painting, a design is made in stencil form on the mesh by blocking out parts of the material. The remaining open areas allow the ink to be forced through to the paper below, resulting in the final printed image. Although many prints may be made from each set of screens, each serigraph is printed individually, showing no degradation from the first print to the last. Therefore, serigraphs, like other graphics media, are termed "multiple originals". Due to the labor involved and the end result, serigraphs are considered to be the finest form of limited edition printmaking.
Displaying a full color spectrum, Giclee prints capture every nuance of an original painting - be it watercolor, oil or acrylic. The Giclee has garnered wide acceptance from contemporary artists like David Hockney and Robert Rauschenberg and institutions like the Chicago Art lnstitute and LA County Museum. With the advent of the computer and high-end printers, the art of printing has become even more precise. Because digital imagery is used, the prints have a higher apparent resolution than lithographs. The spectrum of color is similar to a serigraph. The process involves spraying more than four million droplets per second onto archival art paper or canvas. While similar to airbrush, the Giclee process is much finer. Each piece is carefully hand mounted onto a drum, rotating during the process. Exacting calculations of hue, value and density direct the ink of four nozzles. This produces a combination of 512 chromatic changes. This allows for the possibility of 3 million colors of highly saturated, nontoxic water-based ink. The artist's color approval and input are essential for creating the final custom setting for the edition.
Lithography is based on the antipathy of oil and water. A drawing is made in reverse on the ground (flat) surface of the stone with a crayon or ink that contains soap or grease. The image produced on the stone will accept printing ink and reject water. Once the grease in the ink has penetrated the stone, the drawing is washed off and the stone kept moist. It is then inked with a roller and printed on a lithographic press. As a process, lithography is probably the most unrestricted, allowing a wide range of tones and effects. Several hundred fine prints can be taken from a stone.