An engraving artwork is considered an original print or a lithograph printed from one or more surfaces, by any technique other than mechanical and photomechanical methods, provided that the drawing, engraving and printing are the work of the same artist. Multiple copies may created from a print matrix.
The engraver may use this art medium for purely artistic purposes or for commercial production. An etching print is an original work in the same way that a canvas or watercolor is an original work of art. The difference between them is that the print usually has a version of the same image, while the canvas or watercolor is one of a kind. Etching prints tend to be produced in small numbers, ideally no more than an edition size of 20.
The size of the edition produced is determined by the artist or by the printing process itself it is common practice today to indicate the number of prints in a particular edition and to number each print in sequence.The artist can designate an additional number of prints as proof images, called artist proofs (AP).
These numbers or letters are usually written below or next to the print and are the artist’s guarantee that he will not take more than the specified number of prints. It is common, after the full edition is printed, for the artist to permanently deface or mark the plate or block from which the prints are taken.
Only engravings that meet these conditions have the right to be called originals.