Drypoint Printing

On the weekend I taught a drypoint class, Drypoint is a type of printmaking closely related to etching. The class was smaller than usual, I guess at this time of year people are busy buying presents and going to Chistmas drinks.  But with only four people in the class, once I had go everyone started, I had a chance to work along side and make a little drypoint for myself.  Here it is shown with the plate

House on the Hill  drypoint with plate
"House on the Hill" drypoint with plate by Shana James

which is made from plastic. I have also uploaded this print onto Etsy, it would make a great gift for someone and you can buy it there and look at some of my other drypoints.
So what is a drypoint?
Drypoint is a form of printmaking where a pointed steel scribe or tool is used to scratch an image directly onto the surface of the plate. In the class I taught we used plastic, but traditionally copper or zinc plates were used. The line made this way is generally not as fine as an etched line (as made in acid etching) but unlike an etched line the scratched line creates a burr which holds ink and prints giving drypoint a distinctive furry line.
A drypoint is printed intaglio, (the same way an etching is printed). This means the plate is covered in ink and then wiped back carefully with telephone book paper or tissue. The action of wiping back the plate allows ink to remain in the low lying areas of the plate in this case the scrated lines, while the flat surface is wiped clean.
The paper is soaked in water to soften it and then blotted dry so no water remains on the surface. The paper is then placed on top of the plate and turned through a hand turned etching press. The pressure of the rollers with the blankets push the paper into the grooves, so that it takes up the ink, leaving an indented impression of the whole plate on the paper. Note that the printed picture is a mirror image of the plate, if you are using text in your work you will need to write it back to front.
Dont forget to look at my other drypoints on Etsy 🙂
Also have a look at Moiras drypoints, http://moiracourt.wordpress.com/page/2/ she was in my class a couple of terms ago (as you can see from the work she already knew how to draw when she did my class, and is a sucessful illustrator in her own right).
"House on the Hill" drypoint by Shana James
"House on the Hill" drypoint by Shana James

5 Replies to “Drypoint Printing”

  1. That house look ace Shana! There is something about it which is reminding me of the moors in Devon in winter, which probably wasn’t your intention, but it is. Very atmosopheric and a little bit spooky!
    And thank you for the mention :0)

  2. Thanks Moira, my grandfather was Scottish, and sometimes I wonder if I have inherrited some of his Scottishness, things which I am drawn to, the cellular memory, who knows? But this was one of those unplanned pictures that seemed to come straight from my unconcious. So maybe its scottland not Devon but I also have some English heritage like many Australians and a convict of course!

  3. I think that you have – inherited the Scottishness that is! The moors in Devon can be extremley bleak in winter and then in summer completely the opposite with the bracken, bright yellow gorse and wild ponies grazing. Oh goodness I am going to get homesick in a minute!!
    Och aye the nooo! (what ever that means!)

  4. That’s a nice work though it is quite spooky. Am an art student from Nigeria. I enjoyed that write up on how to show depth.thanks

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