Etching is the process of creating a design or a pattern on a metal plate, to be printed, using the corrosive action of an acid.


Dry point etching

An image is incised into the surface of a metal or plastic plate (acetate or plexiglass). The plate is inked and then wiped clean. The ink resides in the engraved lines. A damp page is then pressed onto the plate lifting the ink from the lines on to its surface. The Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn produced a number of expressive self portraits using this technique.


Copper plate etching / intaglio

A copper plate is covered with a waxy ground. A design is scratched into the wax exposing the copper. The whole plate is then dipped into a bath of acid. The acid erodes the exposed copper only. The wax is then removed and the plate is ready to be inked. This technique was also used by the famous Rembrandt van Rijn.


A process using resin powders to create a tonal intaglio print. In order to understand the aesthetic of aquatint, look at the prints of the Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco Goya or the sublime landscapes of the British artists J. M. W. Turner.


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