What is Printmaking?
What is an Etching? *Etching is a form of printmaking that involves “etching” a metal plate, by the means of incising a drawing on the surface and thus creating an image. In this case, a copper plate is covered by an acid resistant waxy ground and the image scratched onto the plate with a fine tool. The tool cuts through the ground and exposes the bare metal plate. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath where the acid eats into the exposed lines and creates the image. The plate is then cleaned and is ready to print. *To print a plate, you first must ink the plate with special printing inks. The ink is pushed into the lines on the etched plate and then the excess ink is wiped off the surface. Then the plate is placed on the steel bed of a printing press. Then dampened etching paper is placed over the copper plate and then the etching blankets are laid over the inked plate and paper. Lastly, it rolled through an etching press, resulting in the image being transferred to the paper.
Intaglio's name is derived from the Italian taglare, meaning "to carve" and encompasses the largest number of printmaking techniques. Intaglio involves engraving, etching, drypoint, mezzotint, aquatint, soft ground and collagraphy. "Bernie Allan Hughie as a Young Man" is an example of an etching. (above) The print is made by incising a drawing on the surface and thus creating an image. It is then inked and the surface wiped clean. The ink is transferred onto paper by running the plate through an etching press. The inking process is done repeatedly until the edition is done. Each one is hand inked by a printer or the artist. It is not a reproduction.
Relief prints are made by other printing processes, in which the areas not to be printed of the block/plate are carved or incised. The ink is rolled onto the top of the surface and transferred to the paper. Often know as reverse intaglio. i.e.: wood cut or wood block printing. "Duck on the Pond" is an example of relief block print. Planographic prints are made by the process of printing impressions from a smooth surface rather than incising or relief areas on the plate. i.e.: lithography. * Note, the term "litho" is used to refer to both original lithographic prints and offset photolithographs, which are reproductions.