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The following are common questions we have encountered about the art work and how our art work sales support the work of Parent Action on Drugs.  If you have other questions, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Are these original works of art?

Yes.  With the print-making processes described below, there is no other "original" piece of art from which a reproduction is made - unlike the photographic or digital reprints of paintings in poster art.  All of the processes -- whether lithograph, serigraph, etching, woodcut or aquatint -- involve a plate, or plates, which is not part of the finished artwork.  In fact, the artist usually destroys the plate after executing the desired number of prints.

What is a lithograph?

A lithograph is an authorized reproduction printed from a plate or tablet designed by the artist.  The artist uses a set of greasy crayons or pencils to draw a mirrored image of the artwork onto a stone tablet or metal plate.  Separate stones or plates may be used for each colour in the artwork.

The drawing is treated with a chemical to set the image.  Water is wiped onto the unpainted area to prevent the ink from smearing.  A sheet of high quality paper is then placed under the entire plate. The inked stone or plate and the paper are placed in a press and light pressure is used to transfer some of the ink.  Separate press runs are necessary for separate colours. 

Creating a lithograph can be as time-consuming and detailed as producing a painting.  Most lithographs have a number expressed as a fraction with the denominator representing the total number of copies and the numerator expressing which copy the particular lithograph is.

An offset lithograph is a poster.  It is not considered an original work of art in the way that a lithograph is. 

What is an etching?

In pure etching, a metal (usually copper, zinc or steel) plate is covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid.  The artist then scratches off the ground with a pointed etching needle where he wants a line to appear in the finished piece, exposing the bare metal. 

The plate is then dipped in a bath of acid. The acid "bites" into the metal, where it is exposed, leaving behind lines sunk into the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate. The plate is inked all over, and then the ink wiped off the surface, leaving only the ink in the etched lines.

The plate is then put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper (often moistened to soften it).The paper picks up the ink from the etched lines, making a print. The process can be repeated many times; typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the plate shows much sign of wear.

What is aquatint?

Aquatint is an intaglio printmaking technique, a variant of etching. 

Like etching, aquatint uses the application of acid to make the marks in the metal plate. Where the engraving technique uses a needle to make lines that print in black (or whatever colour ink is used), aquatint uses powdered rosin which is acid resistant in the ground to create a tonal effect. The tonal variation is controlled by the level of acid exposure over large areas, and thus the image is shaped by large sections at a time.

What is a woodcut?

Woodcut is a relief printing technique in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges. The areas to show 'white' are cut away with a knife or chisel, leaving the characters or image to show in 'black' at the original surface level. The block is cut along the grain of the wood. The surface is covered with ink by rolling over the surface with an ink-covered roller, leaving ink upon the flat surface but not in the non-printing areas.  Multiple colors can be printed by keying the paper to a frame around the woodblocks (where a different block is used for each color). 

What is a serigraph?

A silkscreen or serigraph is a hand-stenciled method of producing an artwork using a fabric screen for printing.  Many colours can be used and serigraphs are usually numbered in the same way as lithographs.

How can I be sure that the pricing offered by PAD is fair market value?

An easy way to compare our prices is to do an internet search of the artist and the title.  You will then see what other on-line galleries have set as the price for that piece of work.  We are able to sell our artwork at lower prices because the art was donated to us, we have little overhead, and our art sales are being conducted by a team of dedicated volunteers.

Will I get a charitable receipt for this purchase?

No.  While PAD is a fully registered charity, only donations for which there is no tangible benefit to the donor can be provided a receipt for tax purposes.  If you would like to make a tax receiptable donation, please go to PAD: and click on the DONATE button.

How does my purchase support the work of PAD?

Because our art sales are based on donations and volunteer efforts, the full purchase price (apart from shipping and handling charges) goes to the work we do to support young people and help them make safe and informed choices about alcohol and other drugs.  Please visit PAD's website, for more information about our programs.