Saturday, February 2, 2013

Aquatint self-portrait print

...So I failed in my original plan to create more artwork on my own time. However, perhaps I'm not beyond hope- I started taking an Intaglio (in-TAL-lee-oh) printmaking class, and now I can justify spending time on art. Pardon me while I click my heels in joy!

Enough excuses. Here's a two-tone aquatint self-portrait pulled off an acid-etched zinc plate. Methods, progress shots, and rambling behind the jump,  in case you wanna learn about how this was made.

4"x 5" 

 Progress shots. On the right is the pencil concept sketch, and on the left is the high-contrast design for the plate.  I used a photo of my halloween facepaint this year as a reference, but had something of a hard time converting the tonal qualities of pencil into hard black and white. I hope to make a multi-toned aquatint version of this sometime, since I rather prefer the pencil sketch. 

The original zinc plate. Simply put, the above design was transferred to the plate (reversed, of course), and the white areas protected with plastic contact paper. Then I popped the whole thing in a 1:6 nitric acid bath for 3 minutes, which have me two distinct levels, both smooth. The pitted surface of the "black" areas was created by spritzing a fine layer of spray paint on the exposed areas, and allowing another 5 minutes of etching. Thus, the roughened areas will hold ink, while the ink is easily brushed  off the smooth areas. This technique can  also be used to create tonal gradients, and I am most excited to try this out. 

Excited to learn more techniques! Drypoint stamps coming up next. 

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