My First Etching with Aquatint

Having dried the hard ground on the polished and de-greased copper plate, I drew into the surface with a fine pointed tool before etching the lines in the copper, hanging the plate in the etching bath for the prescribed time.

My octopus etched in copper

I then applied ‘stop-out’ to areas of the plate that I wanted to remain light in the final print i.e. areas that I did not want etched further. I used a painterly approach in some areas where I wanted a more streaky effect. The plate was then sprayed lightly with aquatint and placed in the etching bath again for the prescribed time.

Plate with first stop-out and aquatint spray

The process of applying more stop-out and respraying with aquatint before further etching is repeated to create a range of tones. The more aquatint that is applied the more etched the plate will be in those areas, and the darker the tone on the final print.

The plate after removal of all stop-out and aquatint

. The plate is gently cleaned to reveal the textural surface. It is ready to be printed!

Octopus in Blue

I was so pleased with this little print. The tiny scratchy squiggles, the white bubbles from the stop-out, the fish shadows, and the impression of light passing diagonally across the scene have all worked out for me. I love aquatint!

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