Anita Toney
Printmaking Technique
Print Sales
Printmaking Technique


One can create an etching with a full range of color by using 3 or 4 plates which have been etched to varying degrees of value and printed one after another on the same piece of paper.

This particular process uses a key plate in which a drawing is first etched with the hard or soft ground drawing technique. It is then printed and the ink from the paper is transferred to the other plates using a template for registration. This residue of transferred ink is visible after the plates are aquatinted and serves as a guide.

Aquatint is ground up rosin that is an acid resist that forms a dot pattern over plate. Areas are blocked out and then bitten in the acid. The longer an area is bitten the deeper texture is and the darker the value of the color will be when printed.

Using primary colors with 3 or 4 plates, an artist can create an image with all possible variations similar to the color separations in the commercial printing or photo processes.

Since the colors are not automatically divided into their components, this must be done by the artist through their own analysis and then applied to the timings as each aquatinted plate is etched.

After all the aquatinted plates have been etched, they are prepared for printing. The template is used to register each plate with the paper. The color plates are printed first with the last plate through the press being the key plate with the lines and the darkest color ink.

Corrections can be made by adjusting the colors of the ink, burnishing the plate to lighten areas or reaquatinting the plates to darken areas.

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