Drypoint Prints – a tutorial video on drypoint etching on mylar drafting film

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Drypoint on Drafting Film

A  drypoint-from-drafting-film printmaking experiment resulting in the art above is posted on my youtube channel.

You can make a drypoint engraving on matte finish mylar – or polyester drafting film. Print multiples in an edition, and paint each one in a different palette with watercolor, gouache, colored pencil or your media du jour. 

Try tracing a figure study from one of your sketchbooks (like I did below). Lay a small sheet of matte finish Dura-Lar drafting film over your reference material, and trace the image with your pencil. Scribe the line-work with an etching needle.  Ink the mylar, wipe & print… voila. 🙂

Two of the art prints on the left, the sketchbook on the right, and the drafting film plate getting inked in the studio on an old phone book.

Drawn Line Printmaking with Drypoint

The resulting print in this experiment was terrifically sketchy. (My technical art terminology works best when its descriptive, don’t you think?)

An edition of three sketchy intaglio Drypoint prints are perfectly suited for watercolor. I had a lovely afternoon of dabbling in washes, dry brush and glazing on these tiny drypoint art prints.

One of the “sketchy” drypoint prints, fresh off the press.

Drypoint Prints at Home

If you’re unfamiliar with drypoint engraving, you might enjoy this explanation (see the article here) by the British artist’s group Artists & Illustrators. They give a straightforward description, with encouraging words for folks who don’t have access to a local studio to borrow time on a printing press:

But before you go gallivanting into the abyss or dismissing it entirely, how about trying it at home? A DIY print can be created using drypoint card or any card that is laminated on one side (like card from a cereal box) for the plate, a nail or other sharp implement to make the drawing, and a rolling pin, bayer or hand-made palm-press to press it.

Artists and Illustrators

For more on that, check out my printmaking pal Brian Holden’s latest post on his experiments with drypoint from household materials here.

One of the painted drypoint prints (from an edition of three) with the thin, semi-transparent, matte finish duralar drafting film “plate” it was made from.

Drypoint Demo Video Tutorial

There’s a little speed painting in the demonstration video (below), as well as some easy-peasy, non-toxic art studio clean up tips if you use oil-based printing inks.

Solvents scare people away from using oil-based printmaking inks, and I don’t blame them.

But there are alternatives to cleaning up in the studio.  Citrasolv and Lysol wipes do a fantastic job on oil based printmaking inks, as you’ll see in the clean up clip in the video below.

 If you don’t see the video window above, you can watch it directly on youtube here.

Let’s Inspire Each Other

We’re hurling through February, and it’s a great time to make art on chilly days, in a chair, with a cup of tea and an audiobook.

What are you experimenting with in your art?

What’s pulling your creative wagon these days?

What creative works are you reading about to stay inspired? Fill me in with a few comments on your latest happenings.

See you in the next post!

P.S. You can subscribe to get each art post via email (it’s free) right here.

Cat Cot 4.5 x 6.5 Drypoint Engraving (sometimes called a drypoint etching, though it’s not etched)

Art Quote
Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself, you hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you, and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.

Steven Pressfield
Make a Drypoint from a Trader Joe’s biscotti container lid. Drypoint instruction are here.

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13 thoughts on “Drypoint Prints – a tutorial video on drypoint etching on mylar drafting film”

  1. Therese Dignard

    Frank’s link was very informative, as are all your posts and videos. I was exposed transcribing Yupo in a Printing class, as well as saw a post/video for a more primitive print using foil etched with vinegar.
    Keep that knowledge coming.You are awesome.

    1. Hi Theresa, I’m so glad you liked Brian’s blog – he does fantastic experiments with print-methods and printmaking supplies. Your class with Yupo and foil/vinegar printmaking sounds awesome too. I’ve seen a few videos on the net for each method, and they’re mighty tempting. Thanks for the encouragement and feedback!

      1. Therese Dignard

        Not sure how the Frank name got into my post. Thanks for correcting t h e name to Brian. 🙂
        I was thing Nguyen that I needed an etching press, but now I have much food for thought. Glad to be able to put my etching tools to work again. Thanks for a prompt note back. Am loving those videos. 🙂

        1. Hi Therese – no worries – I’m The Queen of typos. As such, I can decipher, so I knew what you meant. Happy to know that etching tools are getting back in your hands. Big wishes to you for successful, satisfying results!

  2. Jeanine Robb

    Hi Belinda,
    I am always so inspired by your work! Thank you. I have a question about numbering your edition when you use different media to color the prints. Would they all be part of the same edition in terms of numbering them even if they have different color schemes and/or use of different coloring media or would they be numbered as separate pieces like a monotype or is there a special way to number them to indicate they are not exactly the same? I hope my question is making sense 🙂 Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Jeanine, Thanks for stopping by, and that’s a great question! Yes, multiple prints, hand painted in different colorways are still part of the same edition. Traditionally, the edition title would be marked with (E.V.) – Edition Varies, to let collectors know of the variety, but the numeric label of, say one through ten, would remain the same: 1/5 (e.v.), 1/6 (e.v.) etc.

  3. Both your video and the one by Brian Holden that you linked to were fantastic! I have two questions: do you only get one impression for each inking, or can the initially prepared plate give more than one. I guess I’m asking if you have to clean and re-ink the plate each time. 2nd question: can an impression be obtained by rubbing back with spoon or is a printing press an absolute requirement? And lastly, I want to thank you for introducing the author Amor Towles from your mention of the audiobook “Rules of Civility”. Our library didn’t have that particular audiobook, but had the audio format of his other book: “A Gentleman In Moscow”. This gave me hours upon hours of most delightful entertainment, a PERFECT antidote to the winter blues. Thank you!

    1. Hi Gayle, I’m glad you liked the links! You can get multiple impressions from the plate, but you must re-ink (no need to clean) each time. A printing press makes the process much more fun, but you *can* transfer the image with a metal spoon as long as your paper and inked plate are secured enough to that no movement happens at all during the rubbing. I’m happy you’re enjoying Amor Towles…. planning start A Gentleman in Moscow this week, and I’m very excited!

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