Art Prints, Intaglio Graphics


Intaglio is a printing technique where the areas to be printed are incised below the printing surface to hold ink in the recessed areas. I use copper as a print surface mostly for two methods - Etching and Aquatint. The finished copper plate is inked, placed on paper and produces a print. For pictures with several colours, a separate plate for every colour is required. Graphic prints are numbered. My series normally have up to 20 prints.

Etching is a process using acid to deepen lines on a copper plate. The copper plate is coated with acid-resistant varnish and the image is scratched with an etching needle to expose the metal beneath. The copper plate is then placed into an acid bath. Areas not protected by varnish are corroded making them sink deeper into the plate. It is possible to repeat the treatment and draw new lines. The ready copper plate can be printed on paper or further worked using other graphic techniques.

With this method it is possible to create areas of tone on the picture. Fine resin powder is distributed on the plate; the plate is heated underneath and the powder adheres to the surface. Areas intended to remain white are coated with a varnish-like substance. Next, the plate is placed in an acid bath. Areas of the plate which were left uncovered appear darker on the final print. The longer the plate is left in the acid bath, the darker the print of the exposed areas become. After cleaning off the remaining varnish from the plate, the plate is ready for the printing process.