An intensive day was spent in my garden studio experimenting with the drypoint etching process. Participants were given a copper plate and an etching tool and were set the challenge of recording a natural form by scratching onto the surface of the plate with a special tool.
Drypoint is a printmaking technique of the intaglio family, in which an image is incised into a plate with a hard-pointed “needle” of sharp metal. In principle the method is practically identical to engraving. Once the image is scratched onto the plate, a dedicated intaglio ink is then applied and this is wiped carefully to ensure the lines retain the ink. The image is then transferred onto paper by rolling the plate and paper through an intaglio press.
This is a magical process with an element of surprise at the end. There is ample scope for creativity in the inking stages and no 2 prints are ever the same, depending on the ‘wipe’.
My students on this occasion, went way beyond my expectations in terms of the quality of the finished prints. They bounced off each other in discovering new ways of inking the plate and their inventiveness with the ink application resulted in work which was just beautiful!
In conclusion it was an extremely successful day and I am really looking forward to running a second workshop using this process in the near future.
More information about the Drypoint Etching Process can be found here.
Materials & Stockists
All materials for this workshop were purchased from the UK and delivered to France via parcel post. I purchase all my art materials from Jackson’s Art Supplies. They are a reputable company with high quality materials. They also offer an excellent service (their dedicated support team are always willing to answer any questions I may have regarding specialist materials and equipment, and offer excellent advice). I have also found their shipping fees to France very reasonable (the cheapest in fact) (see material list below).
The etching press was purchased from Lawrence Art Supplies. It is is a small tabletop intaglio press (details can be found here). This is ideal for all types of intaglio printing on a smaller scale (up to A5 size).
Akua Intaglio Ink: carbon black, graphite and raw umber (from experience, I have found the lighter colours are quite pale and do not seem to pick up the lines in the case of drypoint etching. These colours are perfect and can be combined to create richer results). Approximate cost of a 59ml tub: £9.20
Paper: Any type of good quality, heavy-weight watercolour paper is ideal for this purpose. Different results can be obtained from varying weights and textures – it is worth experimenting to see which works best for you.
Copper Plate: For this workshop I used 100mmx100mm copper plate (1.2 mm thick). cost: £5.70 per plate.
Drypoint Etching Tools: I used Arteina Drypoint Junior Drypoint Junior tools (3mm & 5mm) for this workshop. They are the cheapest but also very durable and robust with a good, sharp point.