return to home page
The etching process, or intaglio, begins with a copper or zinc plate, prepared with a surface coating called a "ground." The original drawing is then scratched onto the surface, cutting through the ground, exposing the bare metal of the plate. The entire plate is then submerged into an acid bath which bites the exposed drawing into the plate. The longer the plate is in acid, the deeper the line is etched. A deeper line, when filled with ink and printed, will produce a darker line. Some drawings require up to six baths to produce desired line depth. The ground is then removed from the plate, the plate is warmed and covered with ink, which is then carefully wiped off the surface, leaving the lines full. Etchings are printed on 100% rag paper, which is first dampened, placed over the etching plate and covered with blanketing to equalize the tremendous pressure of the rollers as they pass over the etching plate making a distinct mark on the paper and the darkest lines of ink moulded in relief. Each etching requires inking and wiping of the plate, resulting in each original etching having a vitality and spirit of its own. Following completion of the edition, the plate is cancelled, preventing the printing of additional etchings.