PDA

View Full Version : What is drypoint?


Huygens
09-07-2003, 12:39 AM
Can someone tell me what drypoint is and what it's relation is to copper plate?

In copper plate one uses engraving burins and cuts their design into the plate to be inked and printed.

I underrstand that drrrypoint is somehow related to this process, but what, in fact, is it?

Huygens

sassybird
09-07-2003, 02:55 AM
Dry point is achieved by using a whistlers needle to draw on the plate, raising a burr which will hold the ink as a chemical etching or using a burin does. I find that working on copper with drypoint is a bit harder than using an aluminum plate. Of couse the aluminum does not hold up to as many prints, but it is cheaper that copper, and prints as well as copper when it comes to dry point. You ought to check out the dry points by Whistler and Escher. They are very rich.

timelady
09-07-2003, 08:02 AM
What sassy said. :)

With drypoint you use the needle to 'carve' directly into the plate (I've done drypoint on copper, aluminium, and unfortunately zinc - nver again on that last one! ouch!). With etching it is the acid that does the actual etching into the plate. (And a burnisher can flatten those areas back to white if necessary.) With drypoint there is no acid - the work is all done directly. It's a harder (physically) and less precise method by its nature. You'll see most lines in drypoint are softer, 'fuzzy'. This is because it's the burr that holds the ink - the raised egdges around the line where you've drawn with the needle. Mind you, you can't always see the burrs of course. Putting a drypoint plate through the press flattens the burrs. That's why you get a very limited edition with drypoint, eventually the burrs will no longer hold ink and give a good print. Drypoints tend to be limited to under 50, most of the time I've seen them at around 25.

I love drypoint because it's more immediate. I've even taken plates into life drawing sesssions and worked directly onto a plate from the model. :)

I'm sure you could have a drypoint plate steel-plated just like you can with any other etching plates, giving it a very long life. But steel-plating is expensive and not many artists do it.

Tina.

Huygens
09-07-2003, 10:44 PM
Let me see if I get this straight--

With copper plate engraving, you cut lines into the plate, carefully clean the ink off the top surface, and then print using the line that remains in the lines.

In essence, is drypoint the same as this, but only done with softer materials, such as aluminum or plastic sheet?

When I was in Junior High School, we did prints by scratching lines into plastic sheets, inking them, wiping them and printing , much like copper plate. It was an inexpensive and fun process.

Would this be considered drypoint?

I confess that I do not understand how the burr thrown up by cutting the line in functions in holding ink. I know that Durer did both drypoints and copper plate engravings.

Huygens

timelady
09-08-2003, 05:45 AM
Yes, what you did in school was drypoint. The key part of it is 'dry'. No acid involved.

Now, let me confess that I actually don't know about engraving. I know etching. I'm fairly certain that they are similar, but they are different processes... so I'll explain etching (much more common than engraving nowadays).

In etching you cover a copper (or zinc) plate with a ground, which is kind of like a waxy substance. You then draw into this surface with pointy tools. Where you have drawn the waxy bit is removed. This removed area is very very fine remember. You then put the plate into acid. Where you removed the waxy covering, ie. the drawing, the acid eats into the plate leaving grooves. These grooves are very smooth though and can be very very exact. Many etchings are extrememly detailed because of this process. You can 'etch' the plate in acid, clean off the ground, then reapply a new ground and etch again in order to do many many layers of drawing on one plate.

Then you ink the plate and wipe it off. The ink is held in the grooves (just like with drypoint). The printing process is the same as drypoint - this is called intaglio, when the ink is held inside the markings on the plate. (To contrast linocut and woodcut are relief printing - where the ink is held on the top of the plate, you don't wipe it off.)

Basically, etching involves quite a lot of equipment and materials. A hotplate to semi-melt to ground on, thinners to remove the ground, acid baths to create the plate, etc. The only reason, as far as I know, that aluminum (and softer metals) are not used in etching is because the acid would actually eat right through the plate! ;) The softness of the plate in etching just affects how long it needs to be left in the acid to get the lines etched. Drypoint CAN be done on harder metals - I've done it on zinc. It's just that if you're sane you don't do that. I think I broke out into a sweat trying to scrape lines in the zinc. ;) Silly me. You can even do drypoint on card or plastic. (they sell a nice card just for it over here at least - it's shiney on one side so the card doesn't get ruined by soaking up the ink)

Hope that helps a bit. :)

Tina.

Huygens
09-09-2003, 02:17 AM
Thank you very much for such a clear and useful answer. I now understand the difference.

I've done wood blocks and lino cuts, and acid etching (using both photographic and hand applied grounds) for both enameling and use in stained glass windows. I had no idea at all that etching involved making marks through a ground and then acid etching it. I always thought of a ground only as a resist, as I did not understand intaglio printing until you explained it to me.

I'm thinking of getting into copper plate engraving. I live in Tokyo, which is something of a paradise for print makers. There are four or five fine art schools within an easy commute of my office that teach every type of print making imaginable.

Maybe after the Xmas rush is over, I'll take some classes.

Huygens

timelady
09-09-2003, 04:13 AM
Ah yes, Tokyo has a lot to offer! I was there for a couple of weeks (oh, ages ago now) and loved walking around just looking for little galleries on the side streets.

I think someone told me recently that enamel etching is similar to copper/zinc etching but that with enamel you need a deeper 'bite' from the acid? Something like that. I have an enamelled landscape picture but never tried it myself. :)

You might also want to look into using caustic soda on lino. We were shown that in a printmaking class once and you could do it at home as long as you're careful. You put a resist on areas of the lino (beeswax? can't remember) and then put the caustic soda mixture on the exposed parts and it will bite into the lino. Don't have any of the recipes anymore though.

Tina.

Dave's in Florida
09-14-2003, 08:23 AM
Timelady:

I experimented with caustic soda (lye, sodium hydroxide) and the "etching" of linoleum for printmaking, but it was a miserable failure.

The depth of the bite was so shallow as to not allow for the generation of suffient relief on the linoleum surface, and this was with a concentrated, nearly saturated solution and an incredibly long contact time with the etchant.

If you or anyone has any practical experience in etching/biting linoleum, I'd be most grateful to hear about it.

I've read all the books, articles, and links that I could find, but I really would like to pick the brain of someone who has succeeded at it.

Dave

Dave's in Florida
09-14-2003, 08:29 AM
Timelady:

I experimented with caustic soda (lye, sodium hydroxide) and the "etching" of linoleum for printmaking, but it was a miserable failure.

The depth of the bite was so shallow as to not allow for the generation of suffient relief on the linoleum surface, and this was with a concentrated, nearly saturated solution and an incredibly long contact time with the etchant.

If you or anyone has any practical experience in etching/biting linoleum, I'd be most grateful to hear about it.

I've read all the books, articles, and links that I could find, but I really would like to pick the brain of someone who has succeeded at it.

Dave

jadeglacier
10-08-2003, 09:39 PM
Drypoint is an engraving type of process using a pointed device versus an engraving chisel. The 'benefit' is that drypoint leaves a jagged valley with metal burs at the top of the valley edge. The burrs catch ink which is wiped with delicacy and produce a purposefully less crisp line than engraving. There are tungsten carbide glass markers that are pretty good for this and don't need sharpening.

bri
02-14-2004, 08:12 PM
Huygens,

How did you make out with this? Did you ever get around to trying some drypoints?

For me, drypointing is like a dam. The pressure builds up while I am occupied with other things, then I scratch plates for a month or two and stuff gushes out all over the place and friends and loved ones grow weary of my drypoints taking over, then I find beauty in the brush again.

I am drawing a lot this month and naturally getting back to drypointing. I was researching old threads for info on the actual printing of the drypoint plates and came across your thread. If you haven't gotten around to trying drypoints, I urge you to. Personally, I can't get enough of it.

~bri

pennlym
03-18-2004, 07:18 PM
Can someone tell me what drypoint is and what it's relation is to copper plate?

In copper plate one uses engraving burins and cuts their design into the plate to be inked and printed.

I underrstand that drrrypoint is somehow related to this process, but what, in fact, is it?

Huygens

I have just done my first dry point using perspects, not sure of the spelling but it is a clear plastic sheet. You scratch into the plastic with a etching needle and roll the ink onto the plastic and then wipe away the surface ink.Printing in a press after.I am still practicing but I can see it will be great for fine work. hope this will help.
Christine

bri
03-18-2004, 07:23 PM
Christine,

if you have trouble with the plastic sheet, try a copper, or zinc plate. Sometimes folks have trouble with the plastic's tendency to change or wear down quickly. Metals like copper hold up good and give a very delicate and responsive line.

pennlym
03-19-2004, 08:13 AM
Christine,

if you have trouble with the plastic sheet, try a copper, or zinc plate. Sometimes folks have trouble with the plastic's tendency to change or wear down quickly. Metals like copper hold up good and give a very delicate and responsive line.

Thanks I will try copper or zinc but I'm not sure where to get any as yet.I'll let you know how it goes. :)