Erin K. Nolan
(Italian for "cut in")
Intaglio methods use heavy pressure to draw ink out of recessed areas of master plates. The surface of the plate does not hold ink and remains unprinted, while the recesses retain ink and are printed onto the paper.
NOTE: Every artist uses techniques that work specifically for him or her. The explanations below are techniques that I have found useful, there are a multitude of other ways to do the same thing. I encourage you to study and find an individualized version that works for you.
Drypoint etch is closely related to engraving in that tools are used directly on the matrix (ex. plexiglass, copper). This technique involves creating a raised metal edge and furrow using a diamond-tipped tool. The image is scribed into the matrix . Once drawing with the scribe is completed, ink is rubbed into the recesses formed by the scribe. Excess ink is removed from the plate and it is ready to be printed.
Paper is laid over the plate and run through a printing press where the paper is pressed into those recesses and the ink is transferred to the paper.
Copper Plate Etching
Etching involves removing metal using a chemical process. The plate is covered by an acid-resistant "ground," the image is then lightly scribed which removes the resist and exposes the metal. The plate is placed in an acid bath where the exposed metal is bitten away. Once the appropriate depth has been achieved, the resist is removed and ink is rubbed into the recesses. Excess ink is removed from the plate and it is ready to be printed. Paper is laid over the plate and run through a printing press where the paper is pressed into those recesses and the ink is transferred to the paper.
A photo negative is etched into a metal plate and etched in. The negative areas are printed while the positive areas remain the color of the wiped paper.
A pointed roulette is used to create an even stippled pattern over the entire metal plate. The roulette does the work of the acid creating the burrs for ink to adhere.
After the plate has been toned with the roulette, it is scraped smooth in areas creating light and dark areas used to produce the image.