Drypoint Modern Limited Edition Printmakings

Let’s Make it Real and Create Our First Drypoint Print


Drypoint engraving printmakings limited editionWe have discovered dry-point technique since the late 15th century. As a supplement to other printmaking techniques, but as an independent technique it has gained popularity since the early 19th century. Durer and Rembrandt have often made printmakings using this technique.

What is engraving with drypoint? One could engraved an art image (‘hatched’) directly onto a copper plate with a metal needle. There are and other kinds of tools for engraving such copper plate. Onto an engraved plate one can not apply nothing. During printmaking process all hatches fills with printmaking ink.

When you make numerous copies there is a danger of flatting these hatches and remove them. They polish by the heaviness of the printmaking press roller. Therefore one can not get such a huge amount of printmaking copies from one plate. This printmaking technique gets more popular. Easy to use at home rather than lithography. It does not require any etching process. All hatches applies directly onto a metal or plastic plate. This process gets done manually. By hand. One need to use a diamond or steel needle.

Before engraving, the image appplies onto the plate by pencil. Also by other kind of graphic material. It easily gets visible on the polished metal. These lines serve as a preparatory phase for the further execution of the needle drawing. For better visibility of the original drawing, one could cover the plate with a thin layer of white gouache. One applies preliminary drawing. The artist can engrave it. After that the gouache layer can washes out. The depth, width and general nature of hatches in this engraving is determined entirely by the nature of needle tool and the force of pressure on it.

How to prepare a drypoint plate and its specifics?

Smoothly polished metal surface gets in material as copper or zinc. The sharp steel needle leaves a different trace. With slight pressure of the needle onto the plate surface, it remains a trace in the form of a line with clean edges. As when engraving etching. The stronger the pressure the deeper needle goes into the plate. Sharp edges that protrude from one or both sides of the hatches are depending of the position of the needle. Vertically or inclined. When printing the ink fills not only all hatches that have been formed by the needle compression. It also fills  highlights all protruded edges. This allows achieving different printing effects.

The tonal saturation range in this printmaking technique is more various than any other engraving. This allows you to apply different hatches. From deepest to most delicate. Barely noticeable. Printmaker engraves it by a dry needle. It is usually sharper, more dramatic, more emotional.

If an artist wants to correct or add something in his artwork before the main printing process, he\she must apply ink onto the whole inkboard. It fades well to reveal more clearly both the hatches for removing and also insufficiently deep traces further treated with the needle. If necessary all not good hatches or too vigorous can get completely removed. At least one can significantly weak them. How? By scraping them with a scraper. Then smoothing them with a suitable tool.

Drypoint technique is sometimes used not independently, but as a supplement for adding additional elements or finishing an engraving performing in another printmaking technique.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

©All images are copyright of Alexandra Duhlinska. They may not be downloaded, modified, altered or sold without the express written permission of the artist.

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