This is the second installment of our print shopping tutorial from Bowerbox Press
An ETCHING or INTAGLIO print is pulled from a copper or zinc plate that has been etched. The plate is coated with an acid-resist, the image is scratched into the resist and the plate is submerged in acid. The image is bitten down into the surface of the copper. Ink is applied, and the plate is wiped clean- ink will remain only in the areas where the acid has etched the plate. The plate is run through a press with dampened paper, and the paper pulls the ink out of the plate. Often there will be an indented mark around the edge of the image area from the plate. Multiple plates can be printed, building up color and texture. CHINE-COLLE is a technique where a contrasting paper is applied between the plate and the paper, to add areas of interest. A DRYPOINT is similar to an etching, but the design is simply scratched into the plate (no acid is used.) It creates a fuzzier line.
Australian Magpie from the Dandenongs, Etching from Etchings by Bridget Farmer
A WOODCUT or LINOCUT is a relief print, made from a block of solid wood or a piece of linoleum. The image is carved into the block with sharp tools. White areas are removed, and the remaining raised surfaces are rolled with ink and printed. A REDUCTION cut is made by printing one color from a block, then carving back into the same block and printing successive colors. A reduction cannot be re-printed as the block is destroyed. Woodcuts can be printed by hand or in a press. A WOOD ENGRAVING is similar to a woodcut, but the image is carved into the endgrain of the wood, using different tools and resulting in very fine lines and detail.
Merman Original Linocut from Fiddlebones
Val Lucas is the owner of Bowerbox Press and is a printmaker working in woodcut, linocut and letterpress.