An etching method that uses areas of tone rather than lines and cross-hatching. The plate is grounded with either powdered asphaltum or resin. The plate is then heated; this causes the powder to melt and separate into thousands of tiny specks. The control of tonal areas in between dips in the acid bath is done by brushing on stopping-out varnish.
An intaglio-printing method related to engraving. It is worked on copper and zinc plates with the design being cut by a hard steel tool, called a dry-point, or a diamond-tipped stylus. The main characteristic is the slightly softer lines than those with an engraving. The reason for these is that the steel dry-point or diamond raises a slight burr, which retains some ink during the wiping of the plate
The process of incising a design into a plate block which is then used to make an impression. It encompasses various different methods, such as: Aquatint, Drypoint, Etching, Intaglio, Line Engraving, Mezzotint, Relief Print, Woodcut.
One of the favourite print-making methods for the artist. The word is derived from the Dutch etsen. The plate is generally copper or zinc. The plate has to be first meticulously prepared; the surface must be without blemish. The artist now has to work his design with the etching needle cutting through the ground to expose the metal. When the needling is finished the back of the plate is brushed over with acid-resistant stopping-out varnish. The plate is now cautiously lowered into the acid bath. A careful watch has to be kept that too great an accumulation of bubbles does not cause the acid biting to be erratic; to stop this the bubble groups are dispersed with the tip of a feather. After the bath the ground is removed with white spirit and for the first time the artist can see exactly what he has done, The plate is inked with a dabber, then the surface is wiped, first with retroussage, stiff canvas, next with muslin or cotton rags and lastly with a coup de main, the palm of the hand; the idea being to leave a subtle veil of ink on the surface. The printing is done with a strong press, the inked plate being laid on to a firm bed, damped paper is laid over the surface, backed with blotting-paper and thick wool blankets. It is then drawn through the rollers of the press; and the blankets and blotting-paper are removed and the print is carefully lifted. With intaglio prints the inked lines are always slightly raised, a fact that can be picked up with a magnifying glass and a raking light. Oustanding masters of the method include Rembrandt, Goya, Piranesi, Durer and Whistler.
A relief method, the block being made from high-grade linoleum. Cutters are small gouges that are fitted into a handle in the same manner as nibs into a penholder. 'Knight, Death and the Devil' by Albrecht Durer, a line engraving carried out in 1513, is probably one of the greatest masterpieces in this method. Note his control of almost velvet-like tone areas.
A flat-bed method which uses a stone or specially prepared zinc plate. The principle is the mutual repulsion of grease and water. The drawing is made either with a wax crayon or wax ink on the stone or plate. To print, the stone or plate is damped with water, which adheres to all areas not treated with the wax ink or crayon, and repels the oil-bound lithographic ink which is then rolled on and the print made. The method was developed by Aloysius Senefelder, a German (1771-1834) in 1798. It has found much favour with artists since then as it gives greater freedom with drawing and executing a design. An account of the method by Senefelder, published in 1818, made it universally known.
A method of engraving said to have been invented in 1642 by Ludwig von Siegen (1609-1680), an artist born at Utrecht, Holland, of German parents. He is said to have communicated the process in 1654 to Prince Rupert, who introduced it into England after the Restoration. The British Museum has a number of Siegen's mezzotint portraits. Mezzotint relies on tones rather than lines. The plate can be copper, zinc or steel, and it is first roughened by a rocker and then highlights and various tones are worked into it with scrapers and burnishers plus any lines called for by the use of a burin.
A method that will only allow for the taking of one print of a design. The plate can be a sheet of glass, metal or formica. On this the design is painted in oils, acrylics, gouache, inks or tempera and the print is taken by placing a sheet of paper over the wet colours and smoothing it down with the hand. Marc Chagwall is one who has experimented with the method.
(also more popularly known as silk-screen printing) The name is reputed to have been coined by Carl Zigrosser, Curator of prints at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Basically it is a method of refined stencilling. A screen of silk, organdie, or fine wire mesh is stretched over a frame. On this screen is placed a stencil, which may be of thin card, shellac film, or tusche (a mixture that may include: wax, soap, lampblack, spermacetti, shellac or tallow). The ink which is of thick consistency is forced through the screen on to the paper by a squeegee. Multi-colour work is just a matter of preparing as many screens as the colours called for. Subtle water-colour effects can be gained by thickening water-based colours with isinglass.
Soft ground etching
The ground used has an excess of wax. The plate is then covered with a piece of thin hard paper and the design is drawn on this with either a hard pencil or a stylus; this causes the ground to adhere to the paper when it is lifted. The attraction for artists is that the print has the qualities of a pencil drawing. Thomas Gainsborough and Paul Sandby were exponents of the method.
A method of making an aquatint that has qualities akin to a brush drawing. The design is painted on the plate with black, gamboge and caster sugar mixed with a little water. The plate is then brushed over with stopping-out varnish, and left to soak in water overnight. During this time the water somehow penetrates the varnish, causes the sugar mixture to swell and lift the varnish exposing the metal. Picasso used this manner a number of times; it provides the artist with great freedom.
Carried out on the end grain of hardwoods such as box, holly and cherry. One of the finest exponents has been the Englishman Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) with his exquisite studies of animals and birds. Both with engraving and cutting, the wood-blocks are held on a circular, flat leather bag filled with sand. In general the cutting tool is held steady and the block is moved on the bag to effect the cut.