Wednesday, November 11, 2015

translating a sketch into an etching

etching with hand-colour

etching with hand colouring

I recently made a couple of sketches based on early winter birds that are common in the area where I live. These are also inspired by the writings of Henry David Thoreau and his observations of birds and wildlife.

I placed a pencil sketch underneath a piece of wet media acetate film alternative. Using water thinned acrylic ink and pure ink line drawn with a crow quill pen and fine point pigment marker I adapted the sketches to monochromatic form. 

I then scanned the artwork and reduced it in scale. It was printed using black ink only on my inkjet printer on a clear piece of inkjet transparency film.

These were exposed onto small pieces of solar plate using ultra-violet light (a homemade unit I built using black lights). Unfortunately I wasn't afforded the luxury of a cloudless sunny day to make the exposure out of doors using sunlight.

I pre-exposed the plate first to an ultra-fine dot aquatint screen (for tonal variations and that would keep the etch shallow on the plate surface for about 45 sec. Then I followed by exposing the film based art to the plate surface for about 1 min duration. Each plate was gently scrubbed with an old toothbrush immersed in tepid tap water for about 2 min. I blotted the plate with paper towel and post-exposed it again to UV light for about 10 min. The post-exposure cures the polymer into a tough as nails material but keeps the etched areas.

inked small polymer plates ready to be printed

Carbon black veg. oil etching ink (Caligo Safewash) was wiped into the etched areas and the plates had the surface polished with thin tissue paper. 
I set the inked plates facing upwards on the press bed of my small Richardson press and set slightly dampened 250 gm Magnani Revere felt finish cotton rag over top. The paper is a warm white hue.
Blankets were lowered over top and having a tight pressure set passed the plate bed by hand turning the gear levers on the press.

I had built a home-made drying system out of some reclaimed wood, old picture wire, miniature stainless steel clips, plastic clothes pins. The prints were clipped and allowed a week to dry in a warm room.

I am now in the process of applying colour to each of these. I am using water thinned washes of daler-rowney acrylic inks and a synthetic sable brush to apply it with.

These will both printed as a varied open edition.

I have added both to my shop Borealart in Etsy if anyone is curious. The nice thing about prints is I can replace my sold ones easily as I will have a few of the edition in my print drawers ready to photograph and offer the art buying public.