Sunday, 23 February 2014

Print Making: Dry Point Etching

As I didn’t want to start with a fresh drawing I used the last drawing I did on the painting brief. The image was first reversed on the photocopier as the print will be the reversed image. As I only have a small piece of Perspex I will crop the image to suit, as this is my first go at dry point I want to start small and work my way up to larger pieces if a wish to take the method further.


This is my first attempt of dry point etching on Perspex; it’s a very easy process. The Perspex is transparent so I copied one of my images, I engraved it into the Perspex with an etching tool, any other sharp object like a blade or needle would also do. Next the oil based printing ink was mixed with extender and spread on the plate with squeegee, the ink was then dabbed firmly into the grooves. Where no ink was required the ink was wiped gently from the plate with scrim or tarlatan cloth. Tissue paper, newspaper or pages from a telephone directory can be used to clean the plate leaving ink only in the incisions. Once the plate is clean including edges cartridge or w/c  paper is soaked (20 mins) and blotted leaving the paper damp. The paper is then placed on top of the plate and printed in a  press. 

To add colour to the print make cut two cards the same size of the etching plate, these will be used for two separate colours. Once the cards are ready you need to ink the original plate and print on paper as normal however you need to trap the paper. This method is known as Offset printing you then transfer the print to the card reversing the image for each colour. The registration is set by either taping the paper down with masking tape or by using metal blocks. Once printed to the card the card is varnished this protects it. Carborundum is mixed with PVA to give the card some grip, the ratio of the PVA to Carborundum will differ depending how much tooth you want on the card for the ink to grab on. Leave to dry for about 30 mins once it’s dry ink up and wipe away any ink not required then print using the blocks for registration. I use two colours on separate plates and then the etching for contours.
These are the plates with Carborundum this gives the card some tooth for the printing ink to grab on.

Below is the final print, this is the first time I have tried this type of printing. I can see where I went wrong the ink is too vivid I either need to wipe off more ink on the plate or add more PVA to cover the Carborundum where the yellow ink is. Also the registration did go out slightly as I forgot to put the blocks down in place I moved it before realising. Though I do think it’s a lot of hard work just to print a bit of colour to the image; at least I gave it a go. I personally enjoyed dry point etching and printing with one colour only which I have done in the print below however instead of using the offset method to add colour I simply decided just to add a bit off watercolour to the image. Whether people actually do this method or not I don’t know I just wanted to know what it looked like and it seemed a lot easier to add a bit of colour this way. I honestly don’t think I will be taking up Print Making it just too mucky…
Top image is the first print using the offset method with Carborundum, the bottom image is print with watercolour colour.


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