Rather sad looking drypoint etching print
Sketch of original design placed under acetate
A couple of years ago I did a drypoint etching workshop at the Artists and Illustrators Exhibition in London. The tutor was the wonderful UK printmaker Nicola Slattery who creates wonderful contemporary artwork. We all gathered together with our little sketches and were given a small piece of acetate and an etching tool. It seemed very simple but the practice of it was much more difficult. The sketch was placed under the acetate and acted as a guide to the drawing.The tool is very difficult to control because you have to exert quite a lot of pressure to make a mark on the acetate. It wasn't until my image was printed in the press that I realised I had left too much ink on the acetate and unfortunately my print had slipped in the press (wouldn't you know it?) and had a mark across the centre. The third problem was that I had forgotten the first rule of printing which is that the image will be reversed when it is printed. My lady looks a bit silly with a severe case of "dextrocardia".
A bit of a disappointing result for me but the process was very enjoyable and I would love to perfect the method. The only drawback is that you cannot hand pull a print from acetate like you can with a linoprint. A printing press is needed and that is not always easy to get access to. The method appeals because it is a printmaking technique that is similar to etching but doesn't require nasty chemicals and acid baths.
The illustrations above show the original sketch, my sad attempt at a print and my new ACEO of the same design. I think my pen and ink illustration is a bit of an improvement on the print somehow.