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Recognizing Serigraphs: How To Identify Silkscreen Prints

A serigraph can be identified by its unique sharpness and smoothness, vibrant color palette, and accurate alignment of different colors, called registration. Serigraphs are created by pressing ink through a stencil and usually have a raised texture. These characteristics distinguish serigraphs from other forms of printmaking.

How Can You Tell if a Print Is a Serigraph?

You can usually tell if a print is a serigraph (also commonly called a silkscreen print) if you look at it closely or under a magnifying glass.

Look for the following distinctive characteristics of hand-printed serigraphs:


One of the most straightforward ways to identify a serigraph print is to look at its texture.

Serigraphs often have a more pronounced texture than other forms of printing, due to the stencil process used to create them. This unique, layered texture is caused by the buildup of ink on the surface.

This gives the print a slightly raised feel and adds depth to the image.

Sharp & Smooth

Another way to tell if a print is a serigraph is to look at the printing process itself.

Serigraphs are made by pressing ink through a stencil onto a flat surface, such as paper or fabric. This creates a sharp, clear image with a smooth, even layer of ink.


Added to their smooth, even ink application, serigraphs typically have a more vibrant, saturated color palette than regular prints.


A hand-printed serigraph will usually show colors layered on top of each other. This is especially obvious where the colors meet at the edges.

Registration refers to the accurate alignment of different colors in a serigraph print.

In serigraph printing, multiple stencils are used to print different colors onto the same surface. To ensure that the final image appears sharp and clear, it is essential that each color is printed in the correct position, with each layer precisely aligned with the others.

Registration is achieved by carefully aligning the stencils and making sure that each color is printed in the right place. This can be a challenging process, as each color must be precisely registered with the others to avoid any misalignment or smudging.

However, proper registration is crucial in creating a high-quality serigraph print that accurately captures the artist’s vision.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Serigraph and Lithograph?

Lithographs and serigraphs are both forms of printmaking, but they differ in their printing processes and resulting textures.

While a serigraph uses a stencil and ink to produce a print, a lithograph is made by drawing an image directly onto a flat surface and then pressing the surface onto paper.

Lithographs have a much smoother texture compared to serigraphs and lack the raised, layered feel of serigraphs.

The images in lithographs are also less vibrant and may have a slightly faded appearance, while serigraphs have a bright, bold look.

How Can You Tell a Serigraph From an Original Painting?

Serigraphs and original paintings are two very different forms of art, but one of the most obvious differences is the texture.

Original paintings will have visible brushstrokes, while serigraphs do not. This is because serigraphs are made by pressing ink through a stencil, which creates a smooth, even layer of ink.

Is a Serigraph Worth Anything?

Serigraphs can be valuable, but their worth depends on several factors, such as the artist’s reputation, the rarity of the print, and the condition of the print.

Serigraphs by well-known artists can fetch high prices, but even serigraphs by lesser-known artists can still have significant value if they are rare or in excellent condition.

Final Thoughts: Identifying a Serigraph

Identifying a serigraph is a valuable skill for any art collector.

By examining the texture, printing process, and differences between serigraphs and other forms of printmaking, you can determine if a print is a serigraph.

Additionally, by understanding the worth of serigraphs, you can make informed decisions about expanding your art collection.

Whether you’re a seasoned art collector or just starting out, understanding the unique characteristics of serigraphs will help you appreciate and value this form of printmaking.