The Witch-boy: line etch proof

Here is a scan of an initial proof of my line-etching of the witch-boy. This is the result of scratching my drawing into a waxy coating over the copper plate, called a hard ground. After coating the plate, you can transfer your (reversed) image onto the surface to guide you as you make your lines into the coating with a scribe tool..

Once you’ve finished, the plate is ready to go into the ferric-chloride acid bath. The places where you’ve scribed into the hard ground coating will be eaten away by the acid, thereby “etching” the lines into the copper plate.

These etched lines will be what holds the ink, which will then transfer to the surface of your paper hen put through the pressure of the printing press. For fine lines, less time in the acid; for more dramatic, darker lines— a longer bath.

My next step after this is to add tonality using aquatint. That’s harder to explain, but I’ve taken a few pics during the process and will post some about that when I get back to the studio in January and finish. I can’t wait to pull the first proof of this with nighttime and shadows added in!

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