If you have read my blog recently, you will have read that when my husband gave to me a Utrecht baby etching press for St. Valentine’s Day, my printing adventures began (although until today, I haven’t been sharing my failures with you). I have been trying to teach myself how to use this little press for its intended purpose, etching. Dry point etching to be precise.
I bought some plastic etching plates and an engraving tool today after trying unsuccessfully to use acetate and the pointy end of an old compass leftover from my hand drafting days. The plate was rather easy to etch into . Or engrave. (I saw one comment on a site that said etching needs chemicals and he/she was not very nice in how they corrected the site’s author. Please, be nice if you leave a comment. My feelings hurt easily.) I etched/engraved Mark Twain and was very pleased when my son said “it’s Mark Twain.” But etching/engraving is easy, printing is hard.
Here is the first attempt…
I think the paper was too dry.
Here is the second print…
the ghost of Mark Twain, I wiped off too much ink.
I left too much ink and was not careful with my handling of the paper, but I did like some of the line work.
I thought this next try would be perfect, but…
I realize I have a long way to go to perfection.
This one was done after I watched an artist online use his hand to wipe off the plate.
I liked the background but I was not very adept at controlling how much ink was left behind. And my hand got really black with ink. But this one gave me enough confidence to think I would be able to pull a good print after my next try.
And here is where I stopped. For today.
With another 100 tries, I may have something I am proud of.
What have I learned? That printmaking is hard. That washing ink off your hands about 30 times really dries out your skin. That a sink in my studio would be really nice. And that I need a more knowledgeable instructor than myself!