Thursday, 20 November 2014

HBP - Complete Printmakers: Drypoint

In the second and third week of the course we focused on drypoint - an intaglio print process which involves scratching a design into a thin metal sheet, inking up the sheet and putting the plate and the paper through a press. As I use mark making a lot in my drawings I really enjoyed this process - there were a variety of tools that we could use to scratch into the metal including an electric Dremel engraver and working into the plate was an interesting process. I enjoyed drawing in a way that was more free; the surface of the metal jarred against the tools making the process less controlled and the marks and lines unpredictable.

As drypoint is an intaglio process you have to cover the plate in ink and then wipe away - the ink is held in the burrs that stick up on either side of the lines and marks that have been scratched into the metal. I found the inking and wiping process difficult - it's very messy and quite labour intensive plus there are certain techniques to wiping which I still really struggle with. I think my first print was helped by a bit of beginners luck as the lighter areas of ink on the rock have given the image a bit more texture and definition but they definitely weren't intentional! 

As shown below I used my plates to make 2-3 prints each - the plates can't really be used much more than this as the burrs begin to flatten from going through the press and don't hold as much ink so the prints are softer and a bit blurry. As with mono print this is a process that I'd like to explore further as I think it works well with my style of drawing.

First drypoint print - drawing from a photo of the Pembrokeshire coast

Second drypoint print from same plate adding some thinned down coloured ink

Third print from original plate - the lines are becoming less defined as the burrs are flattened during the printing process

The drypoint plate and detail below of the marks that have been scratched into the surface of the metal

Second drypoint - I can't find the plate for this drypoint but it was another drawing from photos of the Pembrokeshire coast - I tried to add more colour to this one however it doesn't have the same impact as the first print and it came out a bit messy

Third drypoint plate - this time I used photos from a trip to Cumbria as my source material for the drawings. Again this plate doesn't have the same impact that the first plate did - the colours and the inking definitely need more consideration


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