Drypoint printing – great fun……..

Yesterday my lovely daughter and I – along with Fliss a great sculptor/printmaker – spend a most enjoyable day with Ian Hill and his wife Jackie – Ian is a bookbinder/printmaker who lives in the West Lakes, near Cockermouth.

We first met Ian at Music on the Marr where we were both exhibiting and he had some beautifully delicate prints to sell along with handmade notebooks and other interesting pieces. I’d never seen this type of printing before where the ink has a painterly quality with soft lines rather than the solid, harder effect of lino or screen printing.  I managed to persuade Ian (by way of promises of home-made bread) to let us come down and try out the method in his little studio. We would like to thank him for his patience, hospitality and time in helping us to achieve a great standard of work (we thought) – and Jackie for the amazing food and the gorgeous Rose Scented Geranium which now sits in my bathroom.

The method is as follow:-

First the drawing is etched onto a metal plate – aluminium, zinc or copper with a scribe – before a layer of printing ink is applied all over the surface to be rubbed back until the design shows through. Very little ink is left on the plate and it’s at this point that you can begin to give some movement to the piece by leaving the edges thicker say or practically taking all the ink off leaving highlights. The more adventurous – like my daughter – were able to incorporate two colours on the plate.

Through the little press and then hung up to dry and there they are……….

Definitely going to try this at home using my mangle ………………….


2 thoughts on “Drypoint printing – great fun……..

  1. I love the effect of dry point too. The fact that you don’t need chemicals to etch the plate but rather you scratch your image into the plate using a sharp tool and you can create tone using wet and dry paper or any rough surface like a washing up scrubber.

    A few years ago at Horsley Printmakers we had a Lithuanian printmaker who specialised in dry point during the Art Tour. She made the most exquisite prints. It’s the softness of the burr that is thrown up as opposed the the hard lines you get with etching. If you ever get an opportunity to see Rembrandt’s prints (which were at the Laing a couple of years ago you can see the difference in the same prints.

    Let me know how you get on with the mangle. I’d be interested to know if it will provide enough pressure to print a dry point plate.

    • Morning Carol – interested to learn more about the scrubber….!!! Sending off for some inks but will let you know re the mangle – I would like to try monoprinting next and for that I will check out the fabulous Horsley Printmakers……….x

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