The Etching Process

Etching on the plate. With etching there is no original which has been copied from. A copper plate is covered in acid resistant wax which the artist draws through with a needle. The plate is immersed in acid which etches out the drawn areas.

After cleaning, ink is pressed into the etched lines and the surface wiped clean. Leather ink dabbing. It goes through the press - a heavy roller forces ink from the plate to the paper.


For areas of tone, resin dust is fixed to the copper with heat and the acid etches between the particles except where the artist has protected it with varnish. The longer it is in the acid the darker the tone produced. Plate passing through etching press.

Two or more plates may be produced for different colours or watercolour may be applied to a monochrome etching. Sometimes several colours are "painted" onto one plate before printing. It can take several weeks work to finish one plate. Each single etching can take up to 1 hours to print by hand. The etchings are printed in a strictly limited edition of usually 50 up to 500.