Creating an artist: designing the stamp and drawing
According to a precise specification, a drawing artist carries out several original projects. The approved design is called “model”. This is 4 or 6 times the size of a stamp, ie 16 to 36 times its printed final surface.
The know-how of an engraver: intaglio engraving, known as “intaglio”
An engraver (who is or is not the artist of the stamp), equipped with a binocular magnifying glass, engraves with a chisel on a plate of mild steel, hollow and in reverse, an original punch representing the stamp in its entirety. It is a know-how of patience, precision and expression. It can make grooves between 10 and 100 microns and can tighten 7 sizes to the millimeter according to the image that it wishes to render.
The engraver can follow the evolution of his work by drawing tests on a hand press. These tests of the unfinished punch are called state tests.
Industrial production of postage stamp printing
The printing company performs a check of the punch and draws a proof of arrangement with specific perforation known as “control perforation”. It also draws some tests on a hand press: these are tests of artists. They are signed in pencil by the artist under the vignette.
The punch is plotted digitally with the 3 D scanner on a printing cylinder. Then, thanks to the mastery of master printers, the three-color or six-color engraving presses print the postage stamps on sheets of gummed paper.