Etching is an old printing technique, using strong acid a design is cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create an image template. Ink is rubbed into the areas created by the acid. The metal is then, with a piece of paper on top placed into a printing press and the image is transferred. The metal template can be used multiple times.

The art-teacher at the school where I work provided a course in etching and I asked if I could join it. He personally guided me thru the process which requires a multitude of steps. You can watch these steps in the video above. While working on this project between June and August, I also recording my progress on Twitter.

Phase 1

Drawing 00 Metal Plate
This is the design I came up with. It’s a combination of a Japanese style carp and a ‘love knot’, partly hidden by lotus leaves.
The second step is preparing the metal plate. Filing, sanding and polishing the metal till it’s as smooth as a mirror. Any scratches left behind will be seen on the printed picture.

Drawing 01 Drawing 02
After the plate is covered with a mixture of sheep’s-fat & tar, the picture is transferred. I only transferred the main-lines, the scales I later added freestyle.
Using a sharp metal spike the picture is scraped into the protection layer.

Drawing 03 Print 01
The plate is placed in an acid bath and the unprotected parts of the metal are corroded, leaving an image.
This is the 1st print.

Print 02 Print 03
2th print.
3th print.

Phase 2

Drawing 04 Drawing 05
You can also add greyscale to an etching by covering parts of the metal and placing it back into the acid bath for a minute or so.
We did this four times.

Drawing 06 Print 04
It’s hard to estimate what the end result will be and I wasn’t entirely happy with the next series of prints. (This image is of the print before removing the wax dust, that’s why the metal looks dull.)
4th print, I felt that there was too little difference between the body and the background and the highlights on the scales were too bright.

Print 05 Print 06
5th print.
6th print.

Phase 3

Drawing 07 Print 07
By pressing a metal tool on the surface, we equalised some parts of the print to make the body stand out more. I was very, very happy with the last series.
7th print.

Print 08 Print 09
8th print.
9th print.

Print 10
10th print.
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