Dry point and etching

Today, I took part in a dry point workshop in the printing room.

Drypoint is very similar to etching, where you scratch an image or pattern onto a flat, plastic screen, cover the parts of it (or all of it) in printing ink, lay it on a wet sheet of poster paper, sandwich them between two, thick printing sheets, and run them through a printing press.

However, drypoint is a bit more complicated. You have two options: print on a sheet of metal (preferably copper) or on a sheet of acetate. When mark making on metal, you need to be careful not to cut yourself, as the edges of the metal are very sharp. With drypoint, you can do anything, either produce an image of something (ocean, forest or a building) or someone (friend, relative or yourself), as long as you keep in mind the scale, composition and space of your image. Texture is also very important, as you can scratch or dent or use of type of mark making on the surface and turn texture into a pattern and vice-verse.

For the metal, you have to heat it until it is ward before you print on it. However, since I used acetate instead, I will talk about what to do when printing with that instead.

After you have left your mark on the acetate, you just need to get as many sheets of poster paper and leave them to soak in a tub of water for a few minutes. While this is going on, select the printing ink you want to use and squeeze out the amount you want, but not too much. Once you have your ink, mixing it with a thoroughly in order to check its thickness. If it is too thick, mix in a little printing oil to make it more malleable.

Afterwards, get a cloth, swipe across the ink and rub it onto sheet. Use another cloth to wipe away any excess ink. Now, it is time to print.

Take out one of the sheet of paper from the tub of water and use a sponge to siphon off any excess water from it, then place between two thick cloths and use a rolling press to remove any bit of water inside the sheet.

Once the paper is ready, place it over the acetate, put them between two cloths on the printing press and turn the wheel towards you to operate the press. Hopefully, this will be the result:


My first attempt was pretty good, though I did leave some excess oil in certain sections of the acetate. Still, a very good first attempt. I’m more partially to etching (I have previous experience with it) and feel more comfortable, However, I am willing to continue dry-pointing this week and next and see how far I can go with it.

Here are other examples of dry-point I saw during the lesson:



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