Etching is a printmaking technique that uses chemical action to produce incised lines in a metal printing plate , which then hold the applied ink and form the image. The plate, traditionally copper but now usually zinc, is prepared with an acid-resistant ground. Lines are drawn through the ground, exposing the metal. The plate is then immersed in acid and the exposed metal is ‘bitten’, producing incised lines.
Stronger acid and longer exposure produce more deeply bitten lines. The resist is removed and ink applied to the sunken lines, but wiped from the surface. The plate is then placed against paper and passed through an printing press with great pressure to transfer the ink from the recessed lines. Sometimes ink may be left on the plate surface to provide a background tone.
Dodecahedron Beetle | 2021
Height 12.5 cm x 10 cm width.
Etching & Aquatint on Copper Plate.
This short video, shows the process of creating an etching plate.
This design features a beetle based on the Broscus Cephalotes, sitting inside a Dodecahedron
Design Symbolism | The Dodecahedron is the fourth in the series of the five Platonic Solid shapes. It contains 12 faces, 20 vertices and 30 edges, being the closest of the Platonic Solids to mimic the shape of the sphere | Plato described the Dodecahedron as the shape, "... god used for arranging the constellations on the whole heaven” |
Limited Edition Print Coming Soon
I make my etchings at my home studio. I try to work as 'non toxic' as possible, as my studio space is very small. I prefer to use copper plates, they are lovely to work on, but have experimented with aluminium & zinc. I like to bring some of the aesthetics & imagery from my drawing on paper onto the plate. I enjoy the technical challenge of creating precise & intricate lines, alongside dot work. My focus is about creating detail and often work using a magnifier. I use traditional etching needles & a micro needle for very small lines.
Tones are created with silk, spray & traditional aquatint. Textures are created with a roulette & abrasives. Currently, I like to work on small scale pieces. I enjoy building up a collection of similar pieces. It also allows me to learn & develop, without the restriction of spending months on one piece. I like to cut my plates into shapes & plan to develop this further in the future. I generally print in Black & Sepia with the odd highlight colour, like a rich Gold or Rust. I have recently started to experiment with intaglio methods printed onto leather. Each etching is created in a small edition.