MAKING AN ETCHING

Etching is an intaglio process in which a metal plate (copper, zinc or steel) is coated with an acid resistant wax ground. The design is drawn through the ground with a 'needle', and the plate is then immersed in acid which will 'bite' or eat into the exposed lines, forming minute furrows in the metal. 

Aquatint is a method of producing areas of tone. A fine resin powder is dusted onto the plate, heated, and thus fused onto the metal. When immersed in acid the resin will protect the plate from attack and a tone will be etched into the metal around the resin particles. The longer the plate is left in the acid bath the darker will be the tone bitten and subsequently printed.

Ink is pushed into the etched lines or areas and the unbitten surface is wiped clean.

The inked plate is then laid on the bed of the press, covered with damp paper, and wound through the press. The extreme pressure exerted by the rollers forces the paper into the inked areas and the image is transferred to the paper.