Artist's Resources∼Artist's Dictionary D

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O |P |Q |R |S |T |U |V |W |X |Y |Z


D' Arches   See Arches.
Dabber   In graphic Arts, a pad of leather or cloth used to apply ink to a plate of type.
Dada   (French, "Hobby horse, a word picked randomly from a dictionary") An anti-establishment Art movement during WW1 expressing outrage at the conditions of the World and cynicism and rebellion towards traditional Art forms; major Artists were Hans Arp, Man Ray, Max Ernst and Marcel DuChamp (who produced a porcelain urinal and sent it to a New York Art Show); considered a forerunner of surrealism.
Dagger   A dagger shaped brush used by sign painters for striping.
Dali, Salvador   (1904-1989) A prominent Surrealist who was born in Spain. In 1940 Dali came to the United States, where his provacative style and personal demeanor made him newsworthy. Many of his paintings have a dream-like quality and are realistically rendered. Today, a Museum of many of his over-sized Works can be seen in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Damar varnish   A final varnish for Oil and Tempura paintings, used when the picture is completely dry (about 6 10 12 months for Oils) colorless; available in spray or liquid form; European spelleing: "Dammar."
Damask   In textile design, a firm cloth with an elaborate raised pattern of fruit and flowers, made by directions of thread against a plain background.
Damping the paper   1. In watercolor, putting water on paper with a brush or sponge. 2. In graphics, placing paper in a tray of water for a period of time (depending upon what kind of paper), then putting it between two blotting papers to absorb the excess moisture before printing.
Damp press   In graphics, a means of dampening paper, using a box lined with oilcloth, rubber or zinc.
Dance of Death   In the Middle Ages, a recurring subject of pictures, depicting skeletal figures accompanying human figures to their deaths.
Danse Macabre   (French, "Dance of death") See "Dance of death" above.
Dead metal   1. Excess metal in areas not to be printed from a relief printing plate. 2. Discarded type that will be melted down for reuse.
Debossment   The act of pushing into or cutting below the surface image.
Decalcomania   1. The process of transferring specially prepared printing from its paper to another surface. 2. A technique of blot drawing used by the Surrealists for inspiration in painting.
Deckle edge   The decorative ragged edges on quality watercolor paper and on many paper stocks used for printing (usually one edge deckled on each sheet).
Decollage   A reverse collage made by tearing away parts of paper layers and revealing the colors or images that are part of the final ArtWork.
Decorative overload   Too much surface decoration in an ArtWork.
Decoupage   (French, "cut out") A decorative technique in which cut out pictures or designs are pasted onto a firm surface and then varnished.
Deep etch   The preparation of a printing plate for a long print run.
del.   (Latin, abbreviation for "delineavit", "he drew it") On an engraving, the Artist who drew the original for the print.
Demi-tiente   (French "half-tone") or mezzotint.
Density   Thickness, used in relation to paint thickness or the amount of opacity.
Descender   The part of a lowercase letter that descends below the line, as in p, q, g.
Descriptive Art   Art that is realistic or representative of actual things.
Desensitize   In lithography, to render areas insensitive to grease on a stone or plate with acidifiec gum etch.
Design Elements Line, shape, size, color, value, direction and texture.
De Stijl   A Dutch Art movement, 1917-1928, also known as neo-plasticism; employing rectangles and primary colors; the major Artist was Plet Mondrian; a magazine of the same name was published by the group. It featured articles on pure abstraction.
Devils' Mask   (Chinese) Two animals, birds or other motifs made into a design forming a third and larger animal.
Diagonal   Oblique line or pattern in a compostion.
Diameter   A straight line passing through the center of a circle or sphere, the length of such a line.
Diamond point   1.A diamond-tipped needle used to directly incise a plate. See Drypoint. 2. In Sculpture using dremels, the tip of the metal bits used to carve into harder substances.
Diaper   1. In textile design, small squares or diamond shapes connecting to form a network, as a block or diamond repeat pattern. 2. An identifiable fold pattern in drapery.
Diffusion   In painting, a spreading, blending or blurring.
Dimensions   In Art, the measures of spatial extent-height, width and length.
Dipper   See Palette cup.
Diptych   A pair of carved or painted panels, hinged together like a book.
Directoire style   Late 18th century style in decorative Arts that was a simplified combination of Louis XVI neoclassicism and the Empire style.
Direct painting   Calender, roller or cylinder prinitng where the paper is in direct contact with the printing plate; in textile design, it is the same method as newspaper printing, but each color has a seperate roller, some machines taking up to 16 colors.
Direct transfer   In lithography, transfer of an image directly to the stone from an inked object.
Discord   Lack of harmony in a picture.
Dissymmetric   Not symmetrical. See Symmetrical.
Distemper   A matte-finish paint process using powdered pigment mixed with water-base glue size for large areas such as walls and stage sets; popular around 1900, poster and showcard colors, but not tempura paints; are offshoots of this process, term is mostly British.
Divine proportion   See Golden mean/Golden section.
Divisionism   A term for pointillism or optical mising. See also Pointillism.
Dorland's wax medium   Trade name of a concentrated wax used for encaustic painting and for preserving sculpture, carvings and paintings.
Dotism   Slang for pointillism.
Double Elephant   See Watercolor paper sizes.
Double truck   A newspaper printing term meaning two facing pages dealing with the same story or material; a double spread. See also Truck.
Double-primed   (D.P.) Said of canvas having two coats of priming, such as gesso.
Drafting film   A polyester film used for drafting in ink.
Drafting tape   A crepe paper pressure-sensitive tape used to secure a drawing to the drawing board, mat, etc; similar to but not as sticky as masking tape, is easily removed without damage to the drawing.
Draftsmen/Draughtsman   One with excellent drawing ability; one who renders architetura, mechanical, or engineering drawings.
Dragon's blood   1. A red resin used as an etching resist in photo-engraving. 2. A blood red transparent resin once used in Eurpope, now obsolete.
Drawing board   A rectangular panel, ususally wood, used as a base for drawing.
Dressing   1. In tole painting, the medium that is commonly called "goop". 2. The ornamental top strokes applied to folk Art.
Drier   A prepared liquid (a siccative) added to paint to speed the drying process; cobalt drier is used in Artists' materials, Japan drier in sign painting and industrial paints.
Drollery   Comic or humorous content in a picture, such as cats cooking supper.
Drop-out   A portion of original Art that is not sufficently dense to reproduce when making a half-tone plate.
Dry brush   With ink, watercolors or other mediums, a method of painting with very little color or moisture on the brush, creating a "skipped" or "missed" effect.
Dry-in   A name given to Oil paint that gets dull as part of the picture dries-in and loses its shine; retouch varnish is used to restore the luster to the level of the newly added paint.
Drying Oil   In graphics, an oil such as Linseed or Tung oil, which changes to a solid as a result of the action of oxygen.
Dry lithography   A lithographic printing method using a chemical coating that repels ink.
Dry mounting   A method of attaching a print, drawing or photograph to a carboard backing by placing a sheet of dry mounting tissue between the ArtWork and the carboard and then applying heat for adhesion.
Dry-mounting press   A machine that adheres drawings, photos and other papers to cardboard, using heat and pressure.
Dry offset   A process in which ink is transferred from a relief to a printing blanket, and from there to the paper.
Dry pigments   Pigments in a dry powder form, ready for grinding. After ground, also called "Pulvers."
DuChamp, Marcel   1887-1968. A French painter and sculptor, he shocked the Art World at the 1913 Armory Show when he exhibited his "Nude descending a Staircase"; A cubistic, futuristic Work. He was part of the Dada movement and often used found objects to stand as Works of Art.
Drypoint   1. A technique of intaglio engraving in which a hard steel needle is used to incise lines in a metal, usually copper plate, with the rough burr at the sides of the incised lines often retained to produce a velvety black tone in the print.
2. An engraving or print made using this technique. Duck canvas   A durable cotton canvas ranging in weight from 5 to 24 ounces per square yard, used mainly as a painting support and available in different weaves.
Duotone   The process of using two half-tone cuts of the same black and white illustration; the screened plates are angled slightly so the printed dots do not overlap; one plate is usually printed in black, the other in a second color, such as red or blue.
Duplex paper   A paper made with a different finish or color on each side.
Dust bag   Ground-up rosin in a cloth bag, used in making aquatints.
Dusting brush   A brush used in cleaning Art Works.
Dutch mordant   A mordant used for the etching of fine lines. See also Mordant.
Dyestuff, natural   Natural coloring matter taken from plants and animals.
Dye transfer   A photographic process used in making color prints, now seldom used.
Dynamic symmetry   A theory of design linked to the formula of the golden section; at one time many Artists followed it as an aid in acheiving the perfect composition, but the system is now rarely used. See also Golden mean/Golden section.