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Glossary beginning with C

Select the first letter of the term you're looking for from above to begin.
CAD search for term

Computer-assisted design. Refers to architectural and engineering design work, or graphic design.

Cadmium search for term

A toxic metal found in several compounds of paints, inks, enamels, glazes, and dyes.

Calcagnolo search for term

A claw chisel with two long points. Called a "pied de biche" in France.

Calipers search for term

An instrument used to measure the thickness or diameter of an object. Consists of a pair of movable metal or wooden arms with curved ends, hinged together at a fixable point.

Camaïeu search for term

A painting technique in which a monochromatic image is created by employing two or three tints of a single pigment without regard to local or realistic color.

Came search for term

The channeled lead strips used in producing stained glass, commonly available in two varieties with distinct cross-sections. "H" came is used between pieces of glass at the interior of the design. "C" and "U" came are used around pieces of glass at the design's outer edges.

Camel Hair search for term

A mixture of less expensive types of natural hairs. Does not include camel hair.

Camera Lucida search for term

A device similar to an opaque projector in which mirrors and a prism project the image of an external object onto a flat surface so that it may be traced.

Camera Obscura search for term

A darkened box or room with a small hole through one wall in which light rays pass through to transmit an inverted image of the scene outside the box onto a flat surface on the inside. Latin for "dark room."

Camera-Ready search for term

A two-dimensional artwork that is ready to be photographed so that printed versions can be reproduced. Digital imaging has largely eliminated this process.

Cantilever search for term

A long projecting beam fixed at only one end.

Canvas search for term

Tightly-woven cloth, stretched and primed as a support for painting.

Canvas Pliers search for term

A large set of pliers with a long, flat end that is used to hold and stretch large pieces of fabric.

Canvas Scraper search for term

A tool used to scrape oil or acrylic paint from a canvas with a curved blade, so as to avoid cuts and grooves.

Caption search for term

A brief text explaining an image.

Carbide Disk search for term

An abrasive disk attachement for various power tools such as grinders and sanders.

Carbon Black search for term

A material produced by the incomplete combustion of a heavy petroleum product such as a tar or oil. Used as a color pigment in paints, plastics, and inks.

Carbon Paper search for term

A paper that is coated on one side with a dark pigment and is used to transfer writing and drawings to other surfaces once sufficient pressure is applied to the opposite side.

Carborundum search for term

A hard, crystaline substance used in refractory compounds and as an abrasive. 

Card Stock search for term

A paper stock that is thicker and more durable than normal writing or printing paper, but thinner and more flexible than other forms of paperboard.

Cardboard Relief search for term

A collage made up of pieces of cardboard, sometimes used in relief block printing.

Caricature search for term

A representation in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to comic effect, or the creation of such representatives.

Carry-All search for term

A large receptacle, such as a bag, basket, or pocketbook that is used to carry things from one location to another.

Cartoon search for term

An exaggerated style of drawing done to elicit an emotion from its readers.

Cartridge Paper search for term

A British term for inexpensive paper typically used for sketches.

Carve search for term

The technique of cutting the surface of a block of material so as to shape it into a particular form.

Casein search for term

A natural, quick-drying protein obtained from cow's milk that is used as a binder for pigment. Produces a flat, water-resistant film, much like opaque watercolor paints, but too inflexible for use on canvas. Casein has the wash properties of watercolor, the smooth opacity of tempera and gouache, and the richer textures of oils and acrylics.

Cast search for term

To form into a three-dimensional shape by pouring into a mold, or something formed by these means. In paint, a cast can also refer to a variation of a color, like a reddish-blue, or a purple-red.

Catalyst search for term

A substance which provokes a chemical reaction in other materials without changing itself.

Catalytic Coating search for term

A coating that cures as a result of a chemical reaction.

Caulk search for term

A semi-drying or slow drying plastic material that is used to seal joints or fill crevices around windows, chimneys, frames, or any other area that may lead to exterior air flow.

Caulking search for term

A semi-drying or slow drying plastic material that is used to seal joints or fill crevices around windows, chimneys, frames, or any other area that may lead to exterior air flow.

Caustic search for term

Able to burn or corrode organic tissue. Be careful to read all warning labels and take all precautions necessary with caustic materials.

Cel search for term

Short for cellophane; one of the principal mediums for animation.

Cellophane search for term

A thin, flexible, and transparent acetate film available colorless as well as colored.

Celluloid search for term

One of the earliest plastics, celluloid is used as the basis for photographic films. Most celluloid was made from cellulose nitrate, an incredibly flammable and sometimes dangerously explosive substance, until the late 1940s, when cellulose triacetate was introduced as "safety film."

Cellulose search for term

A natural polymer or resin from cottonseed oil that is used to make paint coatings.

Cement search for term

A powdered substance made from limestone and clay which, when mixed with water, sets into a solid mass.

Centrifugal Casting search for term

A means of casting that employs force by spinning the casting material on a turntable.

Ceramics search for term

Pottery fired at high temperatures in a kiln to form a hardened surface.

Chalk search for term

Pigments mixed with a dried gum and pressed into a stick form. Similar to pastels, but more tightly bound.

Chalk Board search for term

A large board with a smooth, dark surface that is commonly attached to a wall or supported on an easel and used for writing on with chalk. Especially common with school teachers. Some forms of paint exist which recreate this texture.

Chalk Line search for term

A technique where a rope, string, or other type of cord is rubbed down with chalk and stretched taut between two points, then pulled up in the center and released to snap it down, leaving a straight line marked on the surface between the end points.

Chalk Line Box search for term

A tool used to establish a plumb or horizontal line on a wall.

Chalkboard search for term

A large board with a smooth, dark surface that is commonly attached to a wall or supported on an easel and used for writing on with chalk. Especially common with school teachers. Some forms of paint exist which recreate this texture.

Chalking search for term

Formation of a powder on the surface of a paint film caused by disintegration of the binder during weathering.

Chamfer search for term

A symmetrical sloping surface at an edge or corner.

Chamois search for term

A type of porous leather that is favored for its gentle, non-abrasive composition and absorption properties and is used for buffing, polishing, extra grip, and cleaning.

Chaplet search for term

In lost-wax casting, chaplets connect the core placed within a wax model to the surrounding mold in order to keep the core in place when the wax is melted.

Charcoal search for term

Compressed burned wood used for drawing.

Charcoal Pencil search for term

A hardened, wood-encased piece of charcoal that can be sharpened like a pencil.

Charcoal Pencils search for term

A hardened, wood-encased piece of charcoal that can be sharpened like a pencil.

Chasing search for term

A finishing technique for refining a metal surface by denting rather than engraving it.

Checking search for term

Tiny cracks or splitting in the surface of a paint film, as seen in a lacquer. Caused by incorrect application of a film or from having too thick of a film build.

Cheesecloth search for term

A loosely woven cotton gauze used to create different textures as well as to blend smooth wet paint over a surface. Sometimes also used to strain things out of a liquid. Similar to a screen.

Cheesecloth Distressing search for term

A technique where wet paint strokes and colors are applied with bunched-up cheesecloth to create a textural surface.

Chemical Stain search for term

Circular, oblong, or irregular spots or discolorations on areas of finish caused by reactive chemicals and air pollution.

Chiaroscuro search for term

A technique of dramatic light and shade in painting or drawing brought about by heavy use of strongly contrasting tones.

Chime search for term

The area of the lip or rim of a paint can to which the lid seals.

Chine Collé search for term

A printmaking technique in which the image is transferred to a surface that is bonded to a heavier support in the printing process.

Chipping search for term

A separation of paint from the underlying substrate characterized by large particles of paint.

Chipping Out search for term

In lost-wax casting, using a blunt chisel to remove the investment.

Chisel search for term

A tool consisting of a metal shaft beveled at one end to form an edge.

Chisel Blender search for term

A small brush designed to ensure maximum control and ease of use.

Chroma search for term

The relative purity and intensity of a hue when compared to gray; its vividness.

Chroma Key search for term

Refers to a level of chroma from high to low intensity and saturation. High chroma key is bright and pure; a low chroma key is dull and murky.

Chuban search for term

In Japanese art, a size of paper used for prints that measures about 11" x 8".

Chung King search for term

Considered among the best bristles for oil painting, these hog, boar, or pig bristles have long, deep flags and interlocked, "curved" heads that allow for much greater retention of shape and are less likely to "splay" or spread out during use.

Chung-King search for term

Considered among the best bristles for oil painting, these hog, boar, or pig bristles have long, deep flags and interlocked, "curved" heads that allow for much greater retention of shape and are less likely to "splay" or spread out during use.

Chungking search for term

Considered among the best bristles for oil painting, these hog, boar, or pig bristles have long, deep flags and interlocked, "curved" heads that allow for much greater retention of shape and are less likely to "splay" or spread out during use.

Chunk Charcoal search for term

A large piece of carbonized wood ash and residue.

Circular Saw search for term

A circular toothed blade driven by a motor.

Circumference search for term

The enclosing boundary of a curved geometric figure, especially a circle.

Circumscribe search for term

To draw a line or lines directly around an object; to encircle.

Ciseau search for term

A chisel that cuts or engraves the surface of metal.

Ciselet search for term

A chasing chisel or tracer which dents rather than cuts.

Cissing search for term

A painting technique in which a spot that would normally be filled with flat paint results instead in running streaks and bare spots.

CL search for term

The Cautionary Label. Products bearing this seal have health warnings and are not recommended for use around young children.

Clamp search for term

A device used to hold an object in a fixed position.

Claw Chisel search for term

A stoneworking chisel with the blade fashioned into small teeth. Used for shaping stone surfaces.

Claw Hammer search for term

A tool with a flat metal side for striking and two heavy metal prongs used to trap and pull out nail heads.

Cleanability search for term

The ability of a dry film coat to maintain its original appearance after repeated washing with soap and water.

Clear Coating search for term

A transparent, protective film that is generally the final coat of applied sealer.

Clip search for term

A device used for holding or attaching materials together without adhesion.

Cloudiness search for term

Lack of clarity or transparency.

Coagulation search for term

The undesirable changing of resin particles in latex paints to a rubber-like mass.

Coalescent Aid search for term

The small amount of solvent contained in latex coatings that helps the latex resins flow together to aid in the formation of the film.

Coarse search for term

Of low, common, or inferior quality, or consisting of large particles that are not fine in texture.

Coat search for term

A covering of paint or similar material laid on a surface at one time.

Coated Paper search for term

A paper surface with a coating on top that provides a smooth printing or drawing surface. Usually glossy, but can also be matte.

Coating search for term

To cover with a layer, as of ink, paint, or silicone rubber. Something that "coats well" is thickly opaque even with only a single layer.

Coatings search for term

Coverings of paint or similar material laid on a surface at one time.

Cockling search for term

Wrinkling or puckering in paper caused by watery washes onto an improperly stretched support.

Cohesion search for term

A bonding together of a single substance to itself. Internal adhesion.

Cold Chisel search for term

A toughened steel chisel used to cut metal when it is cold.

Cold Press search for term

A lightly-textured watercolor paper created by pressing the finished sheet between cold cylinders.

Cold-Press search for term

A lightly-textured watercolor paper created by pressing the finished sheet between cold cylinders.

Collage search for term

A technique which involves the artist using found materials other than traditional paint to create a new image.

Collagraph search for term

A print made from a low relief collage.

Collaring search for term

A ceramic technique of constricting the top of the pot to prevent clay from flaring out.

Collograph search for term

A print made from an image built up with glue and similar materials. The inked image is transferred to paper and simultaneously embossed.

Color Chip search for term

A paint color sample on a card along with any information necessary to reproduce that paint color.

Color Coat search for term

The application of color to a prepared finish.

Color Correction search for term

The process of altering colors as they appear in a digital image so that they accurately represent the work depicted in print or in digital form.

Color Depth search for term

The number of possible colors or shades of gray that can be included in a particular image.

Color Match search for term

Two colors exhibiting no perceptible difference when viewed under the same conditions, or the act of finding such a match.

Color Permanence search for term

A pigment's lasting power.

Color Retention search for term

The ability of a color to resist external agents such as light, acid, and alkali over an extended period of time.

Color Scheme search for term

A set of colors used in an artwork.

Color Standard search for term

A small sample of color from the original manufacturer.

Color Temperature search for term

In color photography, color temperature is the color of a source of light measured in Kelvins in order to match it to the correct film stock. An overcast day is around 7,000K and is bluish in tone. A sunset is around 4,000-5,000K and is much more orange in hue. An indoor incandescent lightbulb is around 2,700-2,900K and is even more orange than most sunsets.

Color Uniformity search for term

The ability of a coating to maintain a uniform or consistent color across its entire surface, particularly during the weathering process.

Color Wheel search for term

A radial diagram of colors in which primary, secondary, and sometimes intermediate colors are displayed in order to aid in the identification, selection, and mixing of an artist's scheme or palette.

Colorant search for term

A substance, such as a dye or pigment, that colors something else.

Colored Pencil search for term

Pigmented cores encased in wood. Unlike graphite or charcoal pencils, the pigment is usually held in a wax-based core, though oil-based, water-soluble, and mechanical colored pencils do also exist.

Colorfast search for term

A color that is resistant to external agents such as light, acids, and alkalis, and doesn't fade with exposure to the daylight.

Comb Brush search for term

A texturing brush with naturally fingered bristles that are perfect for quick hatch designs, fur, hair, grasses, wood grain, feathers, and more.

Compass search for term

A mechanical tool that has two hinges and adjustable legs for drawing different sizes of circles and arcs. One leg is sharpened to a point and place in one spot on the support. The other can hold a pencil, a pen, or a blade, determines the circle's size, and rotates around the pointed end.

Complementary Colors search for term

Colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. When complements are mixed together, they form neutral colors, like brown or gray.

Composite Board search for term

Panel material similar to plywood, but made up of reconsituted wood particles at its core and softwood veneer on its face.

Composition search for term

The arrangement of elements in a pleasing visual manner within the painting, drawing, or panel.

Compound Miter search for term

A cut that angles in two directions simultaneously.

Compound Miter Saw search for term

A power saw that can cut angles in two directions simultaneously.

Compounding search for term

Using a mild abrasive to bring out gloss and remove texture in a topcoat as done by hand or by machine.

Compressed Air Sprayer search for term

An electric sprayer that emits a fine mist of paint by forcing air through a paint reservoir.

Compressed Charcoal search for term

A powdered charcoal that has been compressed into a stick or pencil.

Concave search for term

A surface or boundary that curves or bulges inward.

Concentration search for term

The ratio of pigment to resins in paint.

Concentric search for term

Two or more shapes or forms that have the same point at their center.

Concept search for term

An idea, thought, or notion conceived through mental activity.

Concrete search for term

In art criticism, a term for things which are tangible as opposed to abstract. In general, the term refers to a building material made from a mixture of clays, aggregates, and water.

Condensation search for term

Moisture that forms when warm, moist air comes into contact with a cool surface.

Conical Mandrel search for term

An instrument used to evaluate a coating's resistance to agitation, or deformation of a coating composition in bulk. The property may be a composite of plasticity, viscosity, yield value, and thixotropy.

Coning search for term

The process of drawing up clay into a conical shape and then flattening it down to the center of the wheel to shape it.

Construction Paper search for term

A stiff paper available in various colors. Useful for collage, tempera painting, and paper sculpture. Colors typically fade.

Contour search for term

The outline of a mass, figure, or object.

Contour Drawing search for term

Drawing in which contour lines are used to represent the subject matter. Sometimes refers to a blind contour drawing or blind continuous-line contour drawing, in which a contour drawing is made with a continuous line with eyes fixed upon the model or object instead of on the drawing medium.

Contour Lines search for term

Lines that surround and define the edges of a subject in order to give it shape, volume, or movement.

Contrast search for term

A measure of the rate of brightness and darkness in an image. High contrast implies dark blacks and bright whites. Medium contrast implies a good spread from black to white, with grays in between. Low contrast implies a small spread of values from black to white.

Contrast Key search for term

The level of contrast in an artwork or color scheme.

Conventional Sprayer search for term

A power paint sprayer which uses compressed air to force paint onto a surface.

Conversion Coating search for term

A metal surface layer intentionally developed by chemical reaction for protection or cosmetic appearance.

Convex search for term

Having a surface or boundary that curves or bulges outward.

Cool Colors search for term

A color that is calming or soothing in nature. Cool colors are not overpowering, and tend to recede in space. Examples of cool colors include white, gray, blue, and green.

Copal search for term

A hard resin used in varnishes and as a binder in painting mediums.

Coping search for term

A method of splitting away stone from a block by driving a small punches into the block and hitting them in sequence until the stone splits between them.

Core Pin search for term

In lost-wax casting, core pins connect a core placed within a wax model to the surrounding mold in order to keep the core in place when the wax is melted.

Corner Clamp search for term

A device which holds together two strips or slabs of solid material at a right angle in order to secure the joint.

Corrosion search for term

The gradual destruction of a material by chemical reaction with its environment.

Corrugate search for term

To shape into undulating folds.

Countersink search for term

A tool used to bevel a drilled hole's opening so that the head of a screw or bolt can sit flush with the rest of the surface.

Coverage search for term

The capacity of a pigment to obscure the underlying surface; its hiding power. Alternatively, its capacity to extend over a given surface.

CP search for term

Chemically pure; a designation for some pigments which are free of extenders or any other inert pigment.

Crackle search for term

In ceramic glazes, a network of fine, crazed lines produced intentionally or accidently. In oil painting, when the paint's surface is broken by a network of small cracks, either intentionally or accidentally.

Craft Paint search for term

A type of paint that can be used on surfaces besides canvas.

Cratering search for term

The formation of holes in a film due to contamination.

Crawling search for term

The tendency of a liquid to draw up into drops or globules as a result of an abnormally high degree of surface tension, or the result of a very hard, slick, or greasy surface wherein the normal surface tension of the liquid draws the liquid up and exposes the surface.

Crayon search for term

Traditionally, any drawing material made in a stick form, including chalks, pastels, charcoals, lithographic and grease crayons, and wax crayons. More specifically, the term refers to wax crayons made of paraffin with paper wrappers.

Crayons search for term

Traditionally, any drawing material made in a stick form, including chalks, pastels, charcoals, lithographic and grease crayons, and wax crayons. More specifically, the term refers to wax crayons made of paraffin with paper wrappers.

Crazing search for term

In pottery and ceramics, a network of cracks similar to crackle, but caused by the glaze and clay body contracting at different rates during a firing.

Creeping search for term

Spontaneous spreading of a liquid on a surface. In the case of a coating, refers to the spread of the wet film beyond the area to which it was applied.

Creosote search for term

A liquid coating made from coal tar. Once used as a wood preservative, but now banned for consumer use because of potential health risks.

Crocking search for term

Removal of color by abrasion or rubbing. A term applied to flat finish paints when color comes off on a sponge or rag during washing.

Crop search for term

To trim one or more of a picture's edges, or to place a mat over these edges so that only a particular part of the subject can be seen.

Cross Spraying search for term

A spray painting technique in which paint is applied in one direction on the first pass, and the second at a right angle to the first, providing a more even film distribution.

Crosscoat search for term

Applying paint in a crisscross pattern.

Crosshatching search for term

A painting or drawing technique in which more than one set of close parallel lines are crisscrossed with other parallel lines at opposite angles. Used to indicate shape and tone.

Crowfoot search for term

Tiny cracks or splitting in the surface of a paint film, as seen in a lacquer. Caused by incorrect application of a film, or from having too thick of a film build.

Curdling search for term

The gelling or partial curing of a paint due to incompatible materials.

Cure search for term

The hardening process of a material that is worked in a moist or liquid form.

Cursive search for term

A flowing, English writing style characterized by joined strokes and rounded angles.

Curtains search for term

Large sagging or runs of paint due to improper applications.

Cut-In search for term

A preliminary stage of painting that usually comes after all the walls and trim have been taped. Involves careful application of paint to the edges and areas that can not be adequately reached with a roller or sprayer.