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Etching

Etching

An intaglio print taken from an etching plate which has gone through the process of exposure to acid to bite the surface of the metal printing plate. A metal plate, usually zinc or copper is prepared with an acid resistant wax ground and is then drawn into with an etching needle and other mark making tools. The drawing is done in reverse and when complete a stopping out varnish is painted over any areas that are not to be printed, so no bare metal will be exposed to the acid except in the drawing. The metal plate is dipped in acid which ‘bites’ (cuts) the plate, the longer the time in the acid the deeper the bite. The artist can stop out areas once they are at the required effect, fine and shallow or deep and strong. The plate is then inked up for printing by rubbing and pushing the ink into the bitten areas (the cuts and grooves) and by wiping and polishing clean the smoother textures and lighter tone.