To begin with, the steel of copper plate is covered with a thin, acid-impervious coating called a ground. Lines are drawn through the ground with a stylus revealing the metal of the plate. Acid is then applied which eats into the exposed areas. The longer the plate is exposed to the acid, the deeper the bite and therefore the stronger the line. Once the acquired depth of bite of acid is achieved the plate is cleaned and dried ready for inking up. The ink covers the plate and is worked into the etched areas while the unetched areas are polished to reveal the copper or steel plate (this will remain white).
Aquatint is a technique of acid-biting areas of tone rather than lines. A ground of resin is used that is not completely impervious to acid, and a pebbly or granular texture (broad or fine) is produced on the metal plate. Stop-out, second and third bites are used to produce variations of darkness.
This is a very hard mixture consisting primarily of silicon carbide and in powdered form is used it to obtain a textured painterly effect. Once a ground is applied the image/pattern is painted directly onto the plate using woodglue and the carborundum powder is sprinkled onto it and allowed to dry. Once the carborundum has hardened the plate can be inked up and is ready to be pulled through the press. Carborundum can be combined with etching and aquatint by using several plates.
Linocut is an abbreviation of linoleum cut. The technique is a derivation of the woodcut but owing to the supple, relatively soft properties of the material, linocuts have different characteristics. The material takes all types of lines, but is most suited to large designs with contrasting dark and light flat tints. The material is cut with small pen-like tools, which have a mushroom-shaped handle. The tools have a variety of forms: straight and rounded edge, double-pointed, as a chisel or a V-shaped chisel, etc. As on a woodcut, the relief parts of the block are inked. For printing a large number of important proofs, the linoleum is attached to a wooden block. Colour printing is done with several linoleum blocks. Long disparaged by serious artists as not challenging enough, the linocut came into its own after artists like Picasso and Matisse began to work in that technique.
The principle of screenprinting, or silkscreening, consists in applying stencils to a screen (constructed of silk or of some synthetic or metallic material), in such a way that when ink is applied it is prevented from passing through some parts while penetrating the rest of the screen, thereby printing an image on paper placed underneath. The screen is stretched across a frame and attached to a base in such a manner that it can readily move up and down, so that paper can be easily placed and removed as required. For each impression, the paper is placed against registration tabs to ensure that the printing is done in the correct position. The ink is poured over the masking at one end of the screen and when this has been lowered into position, the ink is scraped across the screen with the aid of a squeegee.
A design is drawn in ink or paint on any smooth surface. While the ink or paint is still wet, a piece of paper is laid on top of it and pressure applied, either with a press or by hand. The process, by its name, is meant to produce a single impression, but there is sometimes enough damp ink left on the plate surface to make a second, weaker, impression
Cut-outs of coloured tissue or rice paper (Chine) are gently placed glued side up (Collé) to the surface of a pre-etched and inked plate. The paper tissue then adheres to the paper surface as the print is run through the press.
The papers used in my prints
The papers used are all acid free conservation standard papers suitable for fine art printing techniques.
BFK Rives White -- made in France at the Arches mill, it is 100% cotton, acid-free and buffered, with deckled (rough) edges.
Hahnemühle – This German Etching paper is a traditional mould-made copperplate printing paper.
Gampi or Ganpi are a group of Japanese shrubs, members of the genus Wikstroemia, some of which have been used for making paper since the 8th century.