More Dry-Point Printing

During the last week I printed some more from dry-point plates. It is curious how I at first I thought this technique just wasn’t for me, and I’d rather stick to lino cutting, and now I really like it, and am curious to find a way to make it really work for me.

Among the prints I made, was also the feather you see above. I worked with sand paper on the rhenalon plate (plastic sheet) in the hope I could achieve a tonal effect, before scratching the details. Then I started to print and that turned out a double disappointment at first: Not only was there no tonal effect – there was hardly a feather visible!

My first thought was, that I probably didn’t scratch deep enough, and wiped too thoroughly, ans so I tried to wipe differently. As you can see in prints 4 and 5 that ended up in more ink on the paper, but not did not result in better prints.

The ink I was using is called Aqua-Wash and is like magic. It is an oil-based ink and behaves in many ways like traditional printing ink. However, as the name suggests, hands and plates can be cleaned with soap and water. – That not only makes cleaning easier, you also don’t have to handle stinky petroleum afterwards, and wear gloves during works. It is available in many different shades, and I am using here a beautiful “antique black” which really is a very, very dark brown.

For some reason I don’t remember right now, I switched the printing ink after seven unsuccessful prints and tried another couple of prints. (At the moment I am printing 7 copies of each of the feather trials.) That one is a really thick ink, that comes with a label that says “you might want to heat it a little with a hair dryer to get it out of its container”. And just using this other ink worked wonders! On a plate in not very good shape(because 7 prints is already quite a lot for this material, and the plate had already lost some details), I got some really decent results.

I guess it is not so well visible in the photo above, so I included a scan for you to see:

from left to right those were printed with Sakura oil based book printing ink, black dry-point etching ink (no-name), antique black Aqua-Wash copper etching ink

When I tried blue Sakura oil based book printing ink the plate had already lost too much of its definition to print well, but I think the ink worked o.k. Will have to try some more of that!
And as you can probably see in the scan those were also different papers. Will try more of that, too.