ETCHING

The etching process dates from the 16th century, and no photographic aids are used. The artist draws through a resin resist (which is impervious to acid) on to a copper, zinc or aluminium plate with an etching needle. The plate is then immersed in acid so that it is etched along the needle lines. This etched linear drawing provides the foundation for all plates. The plates are then inked up and hand printed on to acid-free paper through an old intaglio press.

AQUATINT

Another intaglio process using acid, in which the plate is carefully and evenly covered with a powdered resin dust and heated, so that each particle of dust becomes crystallised and adheres firmly to the plate. The particles leave small exposed sections of the plate, which are then bitten by immersion in acids. Through a series of resin treatments delicate gradations of tone can be produced. The aquatint is characterised by a fine or coarse grainy texture of tones.

The process

 The sketch up for the new plate (in reverse).                                          

The detail added in taking care not to scratch the delicate hard ground by accident. Then the plate was immersed in 1:14 nitric acid for over 30 minutes.

The polished zinc plate is prepared with a hard ground ready for drawing on with an etching needle.                                      

The plate was then cleaned, inked up with black ink and then carefully wiped with scrim. Then placed on press face up.

The paper is soaked over night and before printing blotted to dry it before it is placed on top of the plate.

The 3 layers of felt blankets go on top.

The pressure is adjusted on the press and it is rolled through.

The print is then taped onto boards with gummed tape to stretch the paper through the drying process.This print is called an Artist Proof (A.P) as I am still working on this plate but needed to print it to check on its progress. Click on print to see detail.

T.

Mitchell

Thames-side Studios, Harrington Way, London, SE18 5NR      tamitchell@hotmail.co.uk