View Full Version : 1st Cu Etching - Need Advice

07-04-2005, 07:58 PM
Many many many years ago when the earth was flat, I did zinc etchings (in college). I have forgotten everything I knew about these techniques since then, and am trying to regroup and learn anew. Some of you do such beautiful work, you have much better control than I do. I appeal to those of you who do etchings to give advice to help me gain some control over the process. This is my first attempt at a Cu etching ever, first time using non-acid (ferric sulfate). I had limited control but this is what I did:

1. Liquid hard ground first line drawing. 30 min etch. It didn't come out perfectly, some of the lines were weaker than I wished. Are there any other ways to make some darker other than the obvious - longer in the etch solution?

2. Stop Out lines of body and aquatint the body area - I think I went 10 min in the etch solution, but some of the lines were a little exposed & disappeared. How do you control this and keep the lines when adding aquatint to an area with lines?

3. Stop out body and use liquid soft ground for upper part of background. Press texture into it when wet. The ground pooled and was thinner in some places. This has a nice subtle effect, I don't know how well it comes out in the picture. I think I went about 20 minutes in the etch solution. It didn't look at all as if the texture would come through but it did.

4. Stop out body and top background area. Use hard gound and put textured rings in bottom background. Use hard ground to draw white areas on "floor". Aquatint over and etch for 30 minutes.

5. Remove some of the body stop-out with denatured alcohol. Stop out lower background & parts of floor. I did the floor again during the next step as it needed a bit more shadow. Aquatint and etch for about 10 more minutes. This created the body's dark spots.

6. Remove all stop out and cover plate with hard ground. Draw lines into this and etch for 35 minutes. This gave new line definition. I had wanted to draw only over the existing lines rather than make new lines, but had trouble seeing them through the hard ground, so I added lines. Can anyone tell me a better way to draw over existing lines to deepen? Or should I do it right the first time & etch more deeply? :)

7. Then I printed with Daniel Smith water based ink so that I could see what I had done quickly with little mess. DS water based is good for that. The final edition will be in oils, but I shall not get to that for a while.

Any advice on the etch process?

This was to be my swap but I didn't have time to finish it. It was a lot of work. I keep thinking I may have left out steps but you get the gist of it.

Thanks in advance.