Saturday, 27 February 2010

ETCHING-part 1; plate preperation+creation

I used steel to Etch onto. I deliberately chose it as its a metal ive never tried before, also because this steel had rusted slightly and i hope to get an interesting effect off it come printing.

-Normally were taught using zinc plate-but its bloody expensive; my steel is about 15" by 40"= £2.80. Zinc is about £15 odd quid for a size smaller than that. but apprently you get much finer lines, and the different metals have a different quality. Id prefer a harsher stronger more graphic quality of line, and to my delight i achieved this and more.


Firstly i cut the steel to size. Polished it with metal polish and scrubbed it with chalk+water in order to get any grease off, and to give purchase to the hot wax ill put on it.
-Next i heat up and melt some wax on a hot plate. 
-there are two types of this tacky brown wax; 'softbound' and 'hardbound'
hard bound is perfect for transporting your plates about the place, and best for drawing with a sharp point. i used a compass
-softbound, as the name suggests, is a lot softer and softer tools can be used to streak accross the place and get different effects, such as a cloth or wood. i havent used it much so i cant say much about it, but check out an artist 'Jason Hicklin' excellent etching plates. I was lucky enough to be taught etching by him before LCC,and saw later in galleries of his work. Im keeping my eye out for mikes etchings, i bet hes got alot hidden away.

Once ive applied the wax, i use a handful of lit candles to smoke up the plate. this makes it easier to see the line you make when drawing and also hardens the wax a bit [i think] n makes it best for handling as i intended to prepare these and take them outside the studio into a life drawing session.

Now that ive done my thing with the plates im ready to prepare them in order to make some wicked prints. As you see theres to odd knock and scratch so using this 'stop out' varnish, i paint in the scratches. this is so that when i dip it in acid for it to 'bite' into the exposed areas ive carved away from drawing, ill only have the marks i intended, and a cleaner drawing.

-I also take a few more minuites to define my drawings, drawing over the odd line and generally making it stronger

-The next important step is to just cover the back of the plate with plastic brown tape.[so the acid doesnt melt into the back n arse up my plate.

I dipped the plates into the acid bath. As I wasnt sure how strong or weak the solution was, i first went for 15 minuites submerged in the acid , clean it, see how it looks and pop it back in if necessary.
and in this case it certainly was.

in the end i had it submerged nearly an hour, even after lloyd juiced up the solution a bit more

the above photo is the final. I am friggin delighted with the quality of line its just brilliant. i cant wait to see this printed, but time-my worst enemy-was running out ill have to leave this stage for another day.

you can tell when its done by running your fingernail accross the surface and you can feel the groove where the acid has bitten into the metal. the groove should have a solid sharp edge. then its done, if its becoming rounded it wont bite any more n thats your lot!

final stage just bung on some white spirit n wash off the wax. n use a bit metal polish to finish it up

I AM SO DELIGHTED WITH THE RESULTS, i can see already ive got a really good quality of line, quite harsh n edgy n damn graphic n right up my street. i cant wait to get my hands dirty with a bunch of prints. im going to try 2 or three colours, but im also going to monoprint the clean back of the print and with those print the image onto it. i cant wait!!

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