This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal (the original process—in modern manufacturing other chemicals may be used on other types of material). As an intaglio method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints, and remains in wide use today.
1 Basic method 2 History 2.1 Origin 2.2 Callot's innovations: échoppe, hard ground, stoppingout 3 Variants 3.1 Aquatint etching 3.2 Soft-ground etching 3.3 Relief etching 4 Modern technique in detail 4.1 Nontoxic etching 4.2 Photo-etching 5 Types of metal plates 6 Industrial uses 7 Controlling the acid's effects 7.1 Hard grounds 7.2 Aquatint 7.3 Sugar lift 7.4 Spit bite 8 Printing 9 Faults 10 "Etchings" euphemism 11 See also 12 References 13 External links
The Soldier and his Wife. Etching by Daniel Hopfer, who is believed to have been the first to apply the technique to printmaking
there are two proven examples of his work on armour: a shield from 1536 now in the Real Armeria of Madrid and a sword in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum of Nuremberg. Berlin. Apart from his prints. An Augsburg horse armour in the German Historical Museum. and may go back to antiquity. and applied the method to printmaking. is also used for "swelling" lines. known as The Hundred Guilder Print. 1654. technically called the mordant (French for "biting") or etchant. The artist then scratches off the ground with a pointed etching needle where he or she wants a line to appear in the finished piece. and then the ink wiped off the surface. but this is no evidence that Hopfer himself worked on it. The paper picks up the ink from the etched lines. The plate is then put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper (often moistened to soften it). this creates an etching which exists in more than one state. is decorated with motifs from Hopfer's etchings and woodcuts. leaving behind lines sunk into the plate. or has acid washed over it. Goya). The plate is inked all over. Rembrandt. example of the print below. The échoppe. using iron plates (many of which still exist). a metal (usually copper. The process as applied to printmaking is believed to have been invented by Daniel Hopfer (circa 1470–1536) of Augsburg. The Virgin and Child with a Cat. zinc or steel) plate is covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid.g. Germany. Rembrandt) or aquatint (e. cups and plates has been known in Europe since the Middle Ages at least. etching c1648 by Rembrandt. Hopfer was a craftsman who decorated armour in this way. The work on the plate can also be added to by repeating the whole process. Etching has often been combined with other intaglio techniques such as engraving (e. The elaborate decoration of armour. with composition reversed. typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the plate shows much sign of wear.g. where it is exposed. so exposing the bare metal. dating to between 1512 and 1515.In pure etching. Original copper etching plate above. The acid "bites" into the metal. as his decorative prints were largely produced as patterns for other craftsmen in various media. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate. was an art probably imported from Italy around the end of the 15th century—little earlier than the birth of etching as a printmaking technique. a tool with a slanted oval section. Christ Preaching. . History Main article: Old master print Origin Etching by goldsmiths and other metal-workers in order to decorate metal items such as guns. in Germany anyway. armour. leaving only the ink in the etched lines. The plate is then dipped in a bath of acid. making a print. The process can be repeated many times.
recipe for the etching ground. etching is relatively easy to learn for an artist trained in drawing. stoppingout Jacques Callot (1592–1635) from Nancy in Lorraine (now part of France) made important technical advances in etching technique. unlike engraving which requires special skill in metalworking. preventing too much time on a single plate that risked being ruined in the biting process. but packed with detail. Its great advantage was that. This enabled lines to be more deeply bitten. Variants . Callot also appears to have been responsible for an improved. Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione and many other masters. and thereafter etching soon came to challenge engraving as the most popular medium for artists in printmaking. and Callot made full use of the new possibilities. then stopping-out those parts of the work which the artist wishes to keep light in tone by covering them with ground before bathing the plate in acid again. which enabled etchers to create a swelling line. producing spots or blotches on the image. and also greatly reducing the risk of "foul-biting". Most of his prints were relatively small— up to about six inches or 15 cm on their longest dimension. spread Callot's innovations all over Europe with the first published manual of etching. Callot's innovations: échoppe. Etching is still widely practiced today. which was translated into Italian.The switch to copper plates was probably made in Italy. Now etchers could do the highly detailed work that was previously the monopoly of engravers. Selection of early etched printing plates from the British Museum Etching by Jacques Bellange. Dutch. He achieved unprecedented subtlety in effects of distance and light and shade by careful control of this process. with Rembrandt. the Parisian Abraham Bosse. In the 19th and early-20th century the Etching revival produced a host of lesser artists. Callot also made more extensive and sophisticated use of multiple "stoppings-out" than previous etchers had done. using lute-makers' varnish rather than a wax-based formula. Gardener with basket c1612 The 17th century was the great age of etching. Previously the risk of foul-biting had always been at the back of an etcher's mind. but no really major figures. In the 18th century. harder. prolonging the life of the plate in printing. German and English. where acid gets through the ground to the plate where it is not intended to. Tiepolo and Daniel Chodowiecki were the best of a smaller number of fine etchers. a type of etching-needle with a slanting oval section at the end. hard ground. He developed the échoppe. This is the technique of letting the acid bite lightly over the whole plate. as engravers were able to do. Piranesi. One of his followers.
applying the flame to the plate to darken the ground and make it easier to see what parts of the plate are exposed. There are two common types of ground: hard ground and soft ground. Afterwards the artist uses a sharp tool to scratch into the ground. classically with 3 beeswax tapers. Blake's exact technique remains controversial. Solid hard ground comes in a hard waxy block. However from 1880–1950 a photo-mechanical ("line-block") variant was the dominant form of commercial printing for images. so it is the "white" background areas which are exposed to the acid. frontispiece to America a Prophecy (Copy A. A similar process to etching.Aquatint etching Aquatint uses acid-resistant resin to achieve tonal effects. most often copper or zinc but steel plate is another medium with different qualities. Soft ground also comes in liquid form and is allowed to dry but it does not dry hard like hard ground and is impressionable. objects. Hard ground can be applied in two ways. although often bitumen is used to protect steel plates from rust and copper plates from aging. writing the text and drawing lines with an acid-resistant medium. The print resembles a drawing. Some printmakers use oil/tar based asphaltum (http://www. The second way to apply hard ground is by liquid hard ground. The artist places a piece of paper (or cloth etc. The ground is spread over the plate as evenly as possible using a roller. but printed as a relief print. hand prints and so on which will penetrate the soft ground and expose the plate underneath. Once applied the etching plate is removed from the hotplate and allowed to cool which hardens the ground. the plate to be etched is placed upon a hot-plate (set at 70 degrees C). is applied to a metal plate. Relief etching Relief etching was invented by William Blake in about 1788. This comes in a can and is applied with a brush upon the plate to be etched. melting onto the plate as it is applied. He used the technique to print texts and images together. printed 1795) Modern technique in detail A waxy acid-resist. After the soft ground has dried the printmaker may apply materials such as leaves. To apply hard ground of this variety. Soft-ground etching Soft-ground etching uses a special softer ground. After the ground has hardened the artist "smokes" the plate. The plate heats up and the ground is applied by hand.magical-secrets. Exposed to air the hard ground will harden. a kind of metal worktop that is heated up. and the areas to print "black" which are covered with ground. exposing the metal. and he has been almost the only artist to use it in its original form. Smoking not only darkens the plate but adds a small amount of wax. . known as a ground. Relief etching by William Blake. in modern uses) over the ground and draws on it.com/studio/glossary) or bitumen as hard ground.
It can be drawn with in the same way as an ordinary needle. whereas nitric acid may be used for etching zinc or steel plates. based upon how long the plate is left in the acid. has a very attractive overall effect on the finished plate. The etching process is known as biting (see also spit-biting below). using powdered rosin or spraypaint. or the plate may be periodically lifted from the acid bath. For aquatinting a printmaker will often use a test strip of metal about a centimetre to three centimetres wide. although the drawback of this technique is the exposure to bubbles and the inability to remove them readily. Another way to remove detritus from a plate is to place the plate to be etched face down within the acid upon plasticine balls or marbles. Example of etching . ca. and although hardly noticeable in any individual line. Part of the strip will be covered in ground and then the strip is redipped into the acid and the process repeated. The longer the plate remains in the acid the deeper the "bites" become. and solid areas of color. The detritus is powdery dissolved metal that fills the etched grooves and can also block the acid from biting evenly into the exposed plate surfaces. The waxy resist prevents the acid from biting the parts of the plate which have been covered. If a bubble is allowed to remain on the plate then it will stop the acid biting into the plate where the bubble touches it. and allows for the creation of tones. Typical solutions are 2 parts FeCl3 to 2 parts water and 1 part nitric to 3 parts water. shadows. by grinding the point back on a carborundum stone. The plate is removed from the acid and washed over with water to remove the acid. The ground will then be removed from the strip and the strip inked up and printed. Turpentine is often removed from the plate using methylated spirits since turpentine is greasy and can affect the application of ink and the printing of the plate. at a 45–60 degree angle. etching by Paula Modersohn-Becker. from the surface of the plate. An "echoppe" point can be made from an ordinary tempered steel etching needle. The metal strip will then be removed and the acid washed off with water. Zinc produces more bubbles much more rapidly than copper and steel and some artists use this to produce interesting round bubble-like circles within their prints for a Milky Way effect. The strength of the acid determines the speed of the etching process. The ground is removed with a solvent such as turpentine. and therefore the strength of the ink color. 1902 The plate is then completely submerged in an acid that eats away at the exposed metal. This will show the printmaker the different degrees or depths of the etch. This process is called aquatint. The "echoppe" works on the same principle that makes a fountain pen's line more attractive than a ballpoint's: The slight swelling variation caused by the natural movement of the hand "warms up" the line. During the etching process the printmaker uses a bird feather or similar item to wave away bubbles and detritus produced by the dissolving process.The ground can also be applied in a fine mist. The design is then drawn (in reverse) with an etching-needle or échoppe. Ferric chloride may be used for etching copper or zinc plates. The strip will be dipped into the acid for a specific number of minutes or seconds. Landscape under Trees.
The process is known as "spit"-biting due to the use of saliva once used as a medium to dilute the acid.htm) in the late 20th century. Others. . A damp piece of paper is placed over the plate and it is run through the press. yet can be cleaned up with warm water and either soda ash solution or ammonia. although gum arabic or water are now commonly used. Nontoxic etching Growing concerns about the health effects of acids and solvents led Pornocrates by Félicien Rops. or a wad of cloth is often used to push the ink into the incised lines. which uses either powdered rosin or enamel spray paint. The item to be etched (anode) is connected to its positive pole. thus eliminating another danger of traditional etching. Shortly before 1990. The etching power is a source of direct current. Anodic etching has been used in industrial processes for over a century. If steel plate is used. such as printmakers Mark Zaffron and Keith Howard. resists the ferric chloride etchant. is replaced with water-based relief printing ink. When used for etching. The wiping leaves ink in the incisions. A piece of matte board. The traditional soft ground. spaced slightly apart. Both. some printmakers prefer to use the blade part of their hand or palm at the base of their thumb. though a ventilation hood is needed due to acrylic particulates from the air brush spray. as acids do. then the plate's natural tooth gives the print a grey background similar to the effects of aquatinting. is replaced with an airbrush application of the acrylic polymer hard ground. Again. rather than solvents.info/galvetch/etchtabl. If copper or zinc plates are used. The plate may be aquatinted for this purpose or exposed directly to the acid. The current pushes the metal out from the anode into solution and deposits it as metal on the cathode. You may also use a folded piece of organza silk to do the final wipe. An early innovation was the use of floor wax as a hard ground for coating the plate. are immersed in a suitable aqueous solution of a suitable electrolyte.Spit-biting is a process whereby the printmaker will apply acid to a plate with a brush in certain areas of the plate. ferric chloride does not produce a corrosive gas.greenart. then the plate surface is left very clean and therefore white in the print. developed systems using acrylic polymers as a ground and ferric chloride for etching. to the development of less toxic etching methods  Etching and aquatint (http://www. The polymers are removed with sodium carbonate (washing soda) solution. The surface is wiped clean with a piece of stiff fabric known as tarlatan and then wiped with newsprint paper. The ink receives impressions like traditional soft ground. no solvents are needed beyond the soda ash solution. requiring solvents for removal from the plate. The traditional aquatint. A receiver plate (cathode) is connected to its negative pole. a plastic "card". two groups working independently developed different ways of applying it to creating intaglio printing plates. As a result steel plates do not need aquatinting as gradual exposure of the plate via successive dips into acid will produce the same result.
The firm pressure of the printing press slowly rubs out the finer details of the image with every pass through. etching by Industrial uses Main article: Chemical milling . for example. further etching. Once the photo-etching process is complete. Photo-etching Main article: Photochemical machining Light sensitive polymer plates allow for photorealistic etchings. Photopolymer plates are either washed in hot water or under other chemicals according to the plate manufacturers' instructions. New Mexico. The total number of prints an artist would like to produce are taken into account when choosing the metal. is incredibly durable. in Scotland. or removed or lightened by scraping and burnishing once the plate has been etched. the etching details will begin to wear very quickly. as it bites Nathaniel Nguyen 1975–present evenly. developing and promoting nontoxic techniques include Grafisk Eksperimentarium. This wearing out of the image over time is one of the reasons prints created early in a numbered series tend to be valued more highly. Light is projected onto the plate as a negative image to expose it. and it alters some colours of ink. so preferable for beginners. invented by Marion and Omri Behr. the plate can be worked further as a normal intaglio plate. Denmark. in Albuquerque. Some of the earliest printmaking workshops experimenting with. Types of metal plates Copper is a traditional metal. some copper plates show extreme wear after only ten prints. The type of metal used for the plate impacts the number of prints the plate will produce. The line quality of steel is less fine than copper but finer than zinc. in contrast to certain nontoxic etching methods. A photosensitive coating is applied to the plate by either the plate supplier or the artist. Prices of copper and zinc have steered steel to an acceptable alternative. engraving.In the patented Electroetch system. in Copenhagen. Steel has a natural and rich aquatint. The final result is an intaglio plate which is printed like any other. Monserrate Palace. on the other hand. and New Grounds Print Workshop. Edinburgh Printmakers. Steel. an etched plate can be reworked as often as the artist desires The system uses voltages below 2 volts which exposes the uneven metal crystals in the etched areas resulting in superior ink retention and printed image appearance of quality equivalent to traditional acid methods. and is still preferred. With relatively soft copper. With polarity reversed the low voltage provides a simpler method of making mezzotint plates as well as the "steel facing" copper plates. Steel is growing in popularity as an etching substrate. using drypoint. Areas of the photo-etch image may be stopped-out before etching to exclude them from the final image on the plate. for etching. but it does not bite as cleanly as copper. and does not distort the colour of the ink when wiped. holds texture well. Zinc is cheaper than copper. etc.
waxy 'ground' that resists acid. A mixture of nitric acid and rosin can also be used.Etching is also used in the manufacturing of printed circuit boards and semiconductor devices (see Etching (microfabrication) ).f. leaving ink in the roughened areas and lines. After etching. The printmaker then scratches through the ground with a sharp point. When later the plate is placed in hot water the sugar dissolves and lifts off leaving the image. Printing Printing the plate is done by covering the surface with ink. 1924 protected by varnishing between acid baths. Most typically. The plate can then be etched. Spit bite A mixture of nitric acid and Gum Arabic (or almost never . spattered or painted onto a metal surface giving interesting results. Damp paper is placed on the plate. on glass. darkened) surface. Sugar lift Here designs in a syrupy solution of sugar or Camp Coffee are painted onto the metal surface prior to it being coated in a liquid etching ground or 'stop out' varnish. transferring the image (c. exposing lines of metal that are attacked by the acid. chine- . Controlling the acid's effects Hard grounds There are many ways for the printmaker to control the acid's effects. then heated to form a screen ground of uniform but less than perfect density. and in the preparation of metallic specimens for microscopic observation. the surface of the plate is covered in a hard. then rubbing the ink off the surface with tarlatan cloth or newsprint. Successive turns of varnishing and placing the plate in acid create areas of tone difficult or impossible to achieve by drawing through a wax ground. light in the final print are effect etching by Lesser Ury.e. and both are run through a printing press.. Areas that are to be Example of sugar lift and spit bite Young Girl in cafe with street-view. Aquatint Aquatint is a variation in which particulate resin is evenly distributed on the plate. any exposed surface will result in a roughened (i. the pressure forces the paper into contact with the ink.saliva) which can be dripped.
collé). violinist David Rubinoff was accused of inviting a young woman to his hotel room to view some French etchings." This was referenced in a 1929 James Thurber cartoon where a man tells a woman in a building lobby: "You wait here and I'll bring the etchings down".with ulterior motives. Also in Dashiell Hammett's 1934 novel The Thin Man. See also Electroetching Old master prints for the history of the method Acid test (gold) Photolithography printmaking . as I want to be certain to be at home when you really do come. Unfortunately. at most. Alger was an immensely popular author in the 19th century. In CHAPTER XXII of the book a woman writes to her boyfriend "I have a new collection of etchings that I want to show you. but instead seducing her. that softness also leads to faster degradation of the image in the press." The boyfriend then writes back "I shall no doubt find pleasure in examining the etchings which you hold out as an Example of foul bite in acid etching inducement to call. smoothing the roughened areas and closing the lines. a copper plate is good for. plates can be electro-plated before printing with a harder metal to preserve the surface. "She just wanted to show me some French etchings. especially with young people and his books were widely quoted. At that point. or deliberately court it by handling the plate roughly. "Etchings" euphemism The phrase "Want to come up and see my etchings?" is a romantic euphemism in which a person entices someone to come back to their place with an offer to look at something artistic . alternatively. however. called "The Erie Train Boy" which was first published in 1891. a few hundred printings of a strongly etched imaged before the degradation is considered too great by the artist. Faults Foul-bite or "over-biting" is common in etching. The phrase is a corruption of some phrases in a novel by Horatio Alger." The phrase was given new popularity in 1937: in a well publicized case. Jr. the artist can manually restore the plate by re-etching it. where the narrator answers his wife asking him about a lady he had wandered off with. essentially putting ground back on and retracing their lines. Zinc is also used. and is the effect of minuscule amounts of acid leaking through the ground to create minor pitting and burning on the surface. etching times are shorter. but artists often leave faux-bite. This incidental roughening may be removed by smoothing and polishing the surface. Won't you name an evening when you will call. the pressure also subtly degrades the image in the plate. because as a softer metal. because it is viewed as a desirable mark of the process.
such that the minimum voltage shall be at least that of the ionization potential of the metal object in the electrolyte chosen and the maximum shall not substantially exceed the sum of the decomposition voltage of the aqueous electrolyte and the over-voltage of the cathode selected.com.com/online/blogs/cartoonists/2011/09/sexual-revolutions.doi. Omri (1993). Omri (1998).org/stable/1575513) ^ US The voltage should be adjustable to operate accurately within a rather narrow voltage range. a safe etching system".moma. Chem Tech 21 (#4): 210– ^ Semenoff.fr/bosse/grand/204. Nick. "Setting the record straight". JSTOR 1576375 (http://www.oclc.fr/bosse/grand/209. Printmaking Today 4 (#4): 24– ^ Behr.newyorker. Leonardo 26 (#1): 53– ^ Behr. New York: Avanel Books. 11. 8. Marion. 6.com. 592.qualitetch.htm ^ http://expositions. Leonardo (The MIT Press) 24 (#4): 389–394.2307%2F1575513). Leonardo (The MIT Press) 30 (#1): 47–48. Printmaking Today 7 (4): 31–32 ^ Behr. Omri & Marion Behr. issued 04. Marion & Omri Behr.com/6/processes/photo-etching-) Photo Etching process overview (http://www.metmuseum.bnf. 1980.htm) Museum of Modern Art information on printing techniques and examples of prints (http://www. "Electrolytic etching process and apparatus therefor".espacenet. The Thin Man.org/exhibitions/2001/whatisaprint/flash.com/textdoc? DB=EPODOC&IDX=US5102520). Behr.html) Mini Print International of Cadaques.doi.12.2307/1575513 (http://dx. doi:10. 16. 3.edu/sites/ehs/artsafety/sec13. Omri (1991). Christos (1991). Dashiell. "Environmentally safe Etching". "Method and apparatus for producing etched plates for graphic printing". "Etching and Tone Creation Using Low-Voltage Anodic Electrolysis". Behr.htm) Etching from the MMA Timeline of Art History (http://www.com/textdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=US5112453).org/node/9287) ^ Behr.htm ^  (http://web. Behr. External links Prints & People: A Social History of Printed Pictures (http://libmma.07. JSTOR 1575513 (http://www.1992 ^ US 5112453 (http://worldwide. ^ http://www.acay. Marion (1995). Behr. Marion.pdf ^ http://expositions. which contains material on etching Photo Etching process video (http://www. 5. "An improved method for steelfacing copper etching plates".contentdm. p.htm ^ http://expositions.uk/white-paper/) The Print Australia Reference Library Catologue (http://www. "Using Dry Copier Toners in Intaglio and Electro-Etching of metal Plates". 4. "Electroetch II". 2.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15324coll10/id/94303/rec/1).bnf. The longest running international print competition and exhibition.2307/1576375 (http://dx.html ^ Hammett.jstor. 13.chicagoartistsresource.2307%2F1576375). 5102520 (http://worldwide.htm) ^  (http://www. 7.co. "Electroetch. 14.fr/bosse/grand/210. doi:10.au/ed-artiststudio. Behr.bnf. 12. issued 05. C.org/10.espacenet. 17.cairnsregionalgallery. an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF).org/toah/hd/etch/hd_etch.aquatint References 1. 15.precisionmicro.jstor.org/10.princeton. Marion (1993).fr/bosse/grand/207. . 18. Printmaking Today 3 (#1): 18– ^ Behr.bnf.1992 ^ Behr. Omri (1997). (1934) in Five Complete Novels.au/%7Esevern/PrintAus. Marion.org/stable/1576375) ^ http://www. 9.htm ^ http://expositions. 10.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.