Hello, I am Jessica Stefani and today I am going to take you through the basic process of Intaglio, a printmaking technique!
Intaglio is a printmaking technique where the ink rest under the surface of the plate not on top. The plate can be made from copper or zinc or other hard, durable surfaces. The ink will be forced into the nicks and lines that are created on the plate and through pressure will be transferred to the paper. Engraving and etching are two Intaglio techniques I will be going over today.
Intaglio is a process of repetition, like all printmaking. But there are six basic steps that will be used over again at various times and manners to create an effective intaglio piece. They are....
The first step is creating your design! Without it you have nothing to print. The nature of Intaglio allows you to create detailed designs that other printing process do not. Depth and texture can be achieved by layering lines and removing areas of the plate. However, graphic images or flat 2d images are also well served by intaglio.
Before you can do anything the plate needs to be prepared. If needed cut the dimensions of the plate to support your design. Once cut bevel the edges of the plate so they are at a 45 degree angle. This makes sure the paper, plate, and press is not damaged by sharp edges when the plate is going through the press. Plus it is more aesthetically pleasing. Once beveled spray a mixture of Salt and vinegar on the copper to degrease, or clean it, before doing anything more to it.
Your paper should be high quality printing paper. In preparing the paper Tear it down to the desired proportions. When considering the size make sure to add a boarder of at least two inches for the top and sides around the plate and at least three on the bottom. The extra on the bottom allows for labeling and a more pleasing look when matted. When the paper is the right size soak it in water for at least 10 minutes before printing.
Now that the paper is soaking and the plate is clean and beveled the plate is ready to receive the design. The most common ways to create a design arethrough engraving and etching. It is very important to remember that whatever the image looks like on the plate will be reversed on paper.
The first technique that can be used in intaglio is etching.
With etching the marks on the plate are made by acid eating away at the copper. Protective wear like goggles and gloves are need as Ferric chloride solution, an acid, is used to create the design. You will also need ground and a brush to protect the areas of the plate you do not want etched, a scribe tool, to sketch out the design, contact paper to protect the back of the plate from the acid, and cleaning agents to ready your plate for printing.
the next step is to cover the back of the plate with contact paper. Next, use a foam brush to lay an even coat of ground (a mixture of pitch, resin, oil and varnish) on the front of the plate. Once applied let dry till the ground is no longer tacky to the touch and is no longer shiny It should have a dull mat finish to it. None of the plate should show through.Using the scribe tool draw your image on the plate. You do not need to press hard. You only need to remove the ground from the areas you want the ink to go into. Once the design is on the plate you immerse the copper into the acid bath. The value of the line will deepen the longer the copper is left in the acid. Time in the bath can last from 5 minutes to 30 an hour. For lines of various depths, you can remove the plate and add more ground to specific lines that you do not want any deeper then re-immerse it to get darker lines where the ground was not reapplied. Once all the etching is done the ground can be completely removed from the plate using a mixture of alcohol and the degreasing method. Once the plate is clean it is ready to accept ink.
Engraving is when sharp tools bite into the copper plate from applied pressure.
Read the slide
It is easier to have a design lightly traced onto the plate before engraving. Because pressure is being applied by sharp edges which are straight it is harder to control the movement of the line, and it is not easy to “erase” any mistakes. With engraving the width of a line determines the richness of the tone of the line. Therefore it is important to use the burnishing tool to remove burs- or the displaced metal from the engraving. Straight edges should be done in long smooth motions. If there is a rocking or hacking the line will not be the same color throughout when printed. To make curved lines it is easier to move the plate then to move the tool, placing the plate on a spinning table or on an object it can rotate on is the best way to move the plate in a fluid motion. The use of cross hatching and the space between lines will provide value to the picture.The burs will collect extra ink that is not wanted on the print. The best way to make sure that the burs are removed and that the design is what you want is to periodically rub etching ink on the surface of the plate and see how the lines accept it.
Here is what a degreased plate can look like. The main portion of the work was etching but dry point, or engraving, was done to add value to areas of the bodies, land, and sky.
Now that your design is in the plate and it has been degreased you can start the inking process. first you take a pallet knife and etching ink and spread the ink on a sheet of plexiglass. work the ink till it spread smoothly and consistinty. This gets rid of lumps in the ink that may gum up the print. Next use a dabber to apply the ink to the surface of the plate. Cover plate compltly with ink.Now wipe Wiping is a three step process.First use a stiff rag, also known as tarlatan, with a fair amount of pressure to remove the heaviest ink. The pressure should be enough the plate does not move while being wiped. Once a trace of the plate can bee seen through the ink it is time to move to the second phase which is a lighter brushing with your hand. This phase should remove enough ink that the design is showing and a slight coloration is left to the cooper where the ink sits of the surface. The last step is to very gently (like stroking a baby bunny) use news print to remove the last bits of ink of the surface of the plate. You want the paper to be flat and revolving in circular motions so that it does not dip down and remove ink from inside your lines. This process will take 10 or so minutes for a 8” x 7” plate. Be patient, each design will react differently to wiping. The closer your lines are to the surface the less wiping should be done because it is easier to remove the ink from inside the lines.
It is time to see what all your hard work had accomplished! It is time to Print!To make sure that your plate and paper are aligned it is a good idea to make a register. A register is a piece of newsprint with the outline of your plate and paper marked out so that you can place each item in the exact same spot every time.Set the register on the printing press. Align your inked plate and your dabbed printing paper on the register. Once every thing is in the correct place cover it with the three layers of the printing felts so that the plate and paper is protected from the press itself. once everything is covered and no wrinkles are present in the felts turn the wheel and send your plate and paper through the press.Fun fact...
So, you have done the work and your print looks exactly like you want it to, your finished right? Not quiet. Like all art work there are a few finishing touches that are needed even after the art itself has been created. Theses touches are also know a labeling. Every print should have the title, edition number, and name of artist at the bottom of the print ( which is one reason for the access paper). Edition number can range from 1/1 to 1/305.. It is written like a fraction and the top number represents the particular prints place (number) in the line of prints you pulled from the plate. The bottom number is the total number of prints that were pulled. The set up I have posted here is one way to order the three pieces of informtaion you need. But really as long as the information is there how it is arranged is up to you.
So that is the basic outline of two intaglio printmaking techniques. To see the process for yourself and as a quick reminder, follow the link presented to a you tube broadcasting from the Minneapolis Institute of art.
Intaglio<br /> Printmaking<br />Jessica Stefani<br />CMU EDU 290<br />
What is Intaglio?<br />A printmaking technique where a plate is incised so the ink lies below the plate’s surface.<br /> Image is transferred under pressure.<br />Most common techniques:<br />Engraving and Etching <br />
The Six Basic Steps to Intaglio.<br />Design<br />Preparation<br />Plate work<br />Inking<br />Printing or pulling editions<br />Presentation<br />
Create Your Design!<br />Step one: Design<br />Intaglio can support detailed designs.<br />Think about texture, contrast, and depth.<br />Designs can be graphic or more three dimensional.<br />Picture by Jessica Stefani <br />
Step Two: Preparing the Plate and Paper.<br />Cut your copper plate to desired dimensions with a plate shear set at a 90° angle.<br />Bevel the edges of the plate to a 45° angle.<br />Degrease the plate using vinegar and salt. Rinse and let air dry. <br />Top<br /> 45°<br />Bottom<br />
Paper Preparation<br />Tear the Printing Paper (do not cut) and let soak in water before printing. Always dab away access water from the surface of the paper before lying it on the plate.<br />Have at least a two inch boarder around the top and sides of the plate. <br />Have at least a three inch boarder on the bottom. <br />2”<br />Plate<br />4”<br />
Step Three: Basic Plate Work<br />Depending on the design, there are several ways to imbue the plate with your image. <br />Engraving and Etching are two basic techniques to create a design on your plate. <br /><ul><li>Be aware, the image will print reverse to what the plate shows!!</li></li></ul><li>Etching<br />
What you need:<br /><ul><li>Chemical resistant gloves and goggles
Alcohol and degreasing agents</li></ul>http://www.artmaterials.com.au/images/scribe999.jpg<br />http://cdn.dickblick.com/items/469/00/46900-1004-2ww-m.jpg<br />
Process<br />Cover the back of plate with contact paper.<br />Completely cover face of plate with liquid ground.<br />Let dry<br />Using the scribe tool draw the desired image on the plate. (do not need a lot of pressure)<br />Place image in Acid<br />Let sit till desired depth is reached.<br />
What you Need<br />Engraving tools:<br />Burnisher<br />Burin<br />Triangular scraper<br />Scribe tool<br />Etching ink<br />Copper plate<br />Degreasing cleaner<br />http://www.utrechtart.com/images/products/brandpages/Etching-Plates_lg.jpg<br />
Process<br />Lightly sketch design on plate with the scribe tool<br />Use other tools to deepen lines, add texture, and remove burs by applying pressure and the tool to the plate.<br />Make sure burs are removed before printing.<br />Use etching ink on the surface to check progress.<br />
Etched Plate with Dry point Detail<br />Design and plate work by Jessica Stefani<br />
Inking<br /><ul><li>Degrease plate with vinegar and salt.
Work etching ink on a Plexiglas surface till smooth
Use a Dabber to apply ink in an even coat over the surface of the plate.
Hand wipe using hand or tarlatan with less pressure
Paper wipe using very light circular motions.</li></li></ul><li>Printing or Pulling Editions<br />When the plate is wiped you are ready to print!<br />Set a piece of newsprint marked with squares for the plate and paper ( a register) on the printing press<br />.<br />Set the plate and paper on top of the newsprint and cover with a second piece of newsprint.<br />Lower the printing felts and run plate through the press. Lift felts and remove your print!<br />Fun Fact:<br />The process to printing multiple prints is called Pulling editions.<br />
Finishing Touches<br /><ul><li>There are several ways to mark your finished print, all include: Title Edition Number Artist’s signature</li></ul>Untitled 3/15 Jessie Stefani<br />
Visual Aid<br />For a visual aid, click on the link to see the intaglio process broadcast from the Minneapolis Institute of art.<br />YouTube - Printmaking Processes: Intaglio<br />http://www.artsconnected.org/media/e1/55/5e3a3e1d2be597bd2b31f2fdee5e/145/120/26568.jpg<br />