Dry Point Etching from Plexiglass with Watercolor: Just Feel the Sun

Just Feel the Sun 4×6 Drypoint with Watercolor on Arches cover paper

Drypoint Etching from Plexiglass

Here’s a frivolous little twirl from the studio; the image started with a sketchbook doodle (see the bottom of this post) after a rough week a few years ago, talking myself out of the pity party I was having, and remembering all the amazing and wonderful things in my life. Sometimes, I think it’s really as simple as this; stop thinking, breathe deep, and just feel the sun.  Gratitude.

What’s a Drypoint?

Drypoint Etching is a form of printmaking that uses a hard plate and incised line work filled with ink to make a print from. Traditionally, drypoint engravings are done on copper plates, or even zinc. In this post, I’ve used a smooth sheet of plexiglass.

A drawing is incised into the plate with a sharp needle. There is no acid bath, as with traditional etching. Since the process depends on the artist simply scribing into the plate material, without added caustic liquids, it’s called a DRYpoint.

After the artist is satisfied with the incised lines of the art on the plate, ink is applied over the entire surface with a dauber, and then it’s wiped off. The upper surface of the plate gets clean of all ink, leaving only the embedded “scratches” from the sharp tool filled with ink.

When damp printmaking paper is pressed hard against the plate on an etching press, the ink laying in the recessed lines transfers to the paper, duplicating the drawing on the plate, in reverse.

Since the last post focused on this same method of printmaking, I thought I’d throw this one out there too, so you can see how versatile it is. Drypoint etching (also called engraving) is suited for almost any style of drawing. Give it a whirl.  C’mon now, you *must* have some gestural drawings & watercolor drypoint ideas floating about in your sketchbooks, no?

After a trip through the press, the print was pulled (an edition of 25).
A  twisted scribe was used to incise the lines of the drawing. I inked and wiped the plate, and this is what the plate looks like just before printing.
I beveled a 4×6 piece of plexiglass and did a drawing with a sharpie marker.
The doodle in my sketch book

Art Quote

If anybody looks at a picture by Claude Monet from the point of view of a Raphael, he will see nothing but a meaningless jargon of wild paint-strokes. And if anybody looks at a Raphael from the point of view of a Claude Monet, he will, no doubt, only see hard, tinny figures in a setting devoid of any of the lovely atmosphere that always envelops form seen in nature. So wide apart are some of the points of view in painting. In the treatment of form these differences in point of view make for enormous variety in the work. So that no apology need be made for the large amount of space occupied in the following pages by what is usually dismissed as mere theory; but what is in reality the first essential of any good practice in drawing. To have a clear idea of what it is you wish to do, is the first necessity of any successful performance. But our exhibitions are full of works that show how seldom this is the case in art. Works showing much ingenuity and ability, but no artistic brains; pictures that are little more than school studies, exercises in the representation of carefully or carelessly arranged objects, but cold to any artistic intention.
The position of art to-day is like that of a river where many tributaries meeting at one point, suddenly turn the steady flow to turbulence, the many streams jostling each other and the different currents pulling hither and thither. After a time, these newly-met forces will adjust themselves to the altered condition, and a larger, finer stream will be the result. Something analogous to this would seem to be happening in art at the present time, when all nations and all schools are acting and reacting upon each other, and art is losing its national characteristics. The hope of the future is that a larger and deeper art, answering to the altered conditions of humanity, will result.
~The Practice & Science of Drawing, by Harold Speed 1920

1 thought on “Dry Point Etching from Plexiglass with Watercolor: Just Feel the Sun”

  1. Love “Just Feel the Sun”
    If Harold thought things were bad with the development of art then, just imagine his reaction now!

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