The Intaglio Etching Process
In the world of printmaking, “Intaglio” is the collective term for engraving and etching techniques. I use a 'non-toxic' method to greatly reduce my exposure to traditional, yet harmful, chemicals and solvents.
- I start by cutting a flat piece of copper sheeting to a size slightly larger than my drawing. Then I clean the plate with a mild detergent cleanser, careful not to scratch the copper in the process.
- I pour a thin layer of liquid acrylic resist to the metal plate and wait for it to dry. The image is then drawn through the hardened acrylic using an etchers needle. This exposes the metal surface to air wherever I draw.
- Once the drawing is complete, the plate is submerged in an acid bath. The acid "bites" the exposed metal, producing etched lines that correspond to the image. The acrylic is removed and the plate is cleaned again and prepped for printing at a printmaking studio.
- To print, ink is forced into the crevices and lines of the plate. Excess ink is removed. A final smooth wipe is done by hand, sometimes with the aid of a sheet of newspaper. A damp piece of paper and the plate are run through a printing press to transfer the ink from the recesses of the plate to the paper. And shazaam – a print is born!
The Watercolor and Ink Process
Each painting has undergone a process that involves redrawing the original image FIVE times. Through each iteration, I learn more about the image, make minor adjustments, and finalize the painting with ink.
- Pencil Composition - The original drawing is composed with a mechnical pencil on vellum paper.
- Pencil & Graphite Transfer - The drawing is traced with pencil and graphite against a sheet of watercolor paper to transfer the image.
- Watercolor Pencils - The image is drawn a third time, this time with watercolor pencils.
- Water & Brush - The image is drawn a fourth time, this time with a wet brush to release the pigments and smear/expand the image in random ways.
- Ink Pen - The image is drawn a fifth and final time with ink. At this stage, the image is reinterpreted and the random outlines of the watercolor are taken into consideration.