Monday, March 2, 2009

Etching techniques that I like-Part II

I don't believe that I've discussed soft-ground techniques before, but it's fast becoming one of my favorite ways to etch a plate. I've spoken about the use of litho crayons in etching in a previous post as well as my penchant for sketching and I'd like to expound further on how useful I find litho crayons (and pencils) to be on a soft-ground plate. The above etching was created that way. Though it's rough and I will be working further on this plate and will add color, I like the way the freshness of the line and the immediacy of sketchwork is evident. And using a zinc plate can make a "dirtier" print than a copper plate which also adds to the feeling of a rough sketch.

The way I created the plate is that I drew the image on vellum while it was on a zinc plate so that the litho crayon's marks would be seen in the exposed parts of the plate when etched. I love the freedom of line and the variety of tone that the litho crayon yields when drawing with it. It allows me to "sketch" on a plate more expressively than when I use other tools for that purpose. I also find that if I decide to aquatint the plate in the next stage and fill in subjects with tones, the outlines disappear and the effect is more seamless looking.

I'd love to hear from people who use tools in the etching process that were designed for another purpose entirely. I am such a fan of experimenting with different acid resists and ways to manipulate the process to yield results that are unusual for etching prints. I'm experimenting right now with sharpies as an acid resist and I hope to post more about that soon.

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