Intaglio Printmaking

by Mindy on December 12, 2010

in Pen & Ink, Workshops

I recently had the wonderful experience of learning how to do a traditional form of printmaking with Patricia Wynne at Studio 16. The method is called intaglio and it involves using solvents, acid, a zinc or copper plate and a tool to scratch into the plate that will hold ink to create an image. I found a wonderful YouTube video that describes the process of intaglio printing and all the different methods that are used to inscribe a line. I highly recommend that you see the video as it gives you a visual and oral overview of what the process is all about.


I did 2 prints during the workshop. One is a line drawing of my iguana, Father Mulcahy. Father Mulcahy died on November 1st 2010 and I wanted to do something in honor of him. I printed the plate on several types of paper and different colored inks. I will do more experimenting with hand tinting the prints with watercolor and colored pencil.

My second print was purely experimental. I wanted to try to do a very free formed multi-dimensional abstract. I used  solvents and a "sugar lift" to create an organic multi layered texture. I was thrilled with the results. I am not sure where I am going with this but I love the fluid and spontaneous nature of this technique and I plan to do more experimentation in the near future.

If you have any thoughts or experiences with intaglio printmaking I would love to hear from you!


Happy Creating!






{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie Jacobson December 12, 2010 at 10:48 pm

This is a wonderful post. the video was really informative. I'm fascinated by the differences in the two pieces. The piece of father Mulcahy looks so tedious. Does it take longer to do this drawing on the plate, than it would take for you to do it on paper?  I'd love to know how much time it takes to do the drawing on the plate?
On the experimental piece, did you use all of the processes shown in the video, etching, aquatint, burnishing and drypoint?
Thanks so much for sharing this. I am eager to see where you will go with this process.

richard buncamper December 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Nicely done Mindy.  You should continue in the process (Like you have time to explore a new process)  At Kean University Lennie Pierro and Mike Metzger taught the process and I can remember sitting in on their demo's and doing a few prints of my own.  Since they have retired or passed on the new printmaking instructor at Kean is what might be called a "GREEN" Printmaker.  She uses no toxic chemicals, or acids, or solvents in the studio.  She completely transformed the studio to a safe, non toxic environment and started to stress drawing skills.  In any event as one can see from your drawing skills Printmaking is made for you and probably most Botanical artists who have those great visual and hand skills.  The problem of course is finding time as it is like most mediums very jealous and demands complete and total devotion.  Since retiring from Kean I have been taking Baroque recorder lessons, and playing the flute and trying to play bass guitar with my jazz band, Playing tennis twice a week and going to the gym to stay in shape 3 times a week, Cooking French and Italian foods, Gardening (flowers and vegetables) and trying to draw and paint this stuff I am growing in the garden in graphite, colored pencil and watercolor and finally trying to keep my hands in clay and use these Botanical images on the surface of my clay works.  Oh, and of course I must mention trying to keep updated a web site that reflects your latest work when your work is changing constantly?.  I need 10 lifetimes to master it all.   I saw your Watercolor at the HORT just before the show closed and it was so impressive not just technically as I am sure the technical stuff is well behind you, what I loved was the Rhythm, and movement that seemed to make the painting seem like a dance and how the use of color almost pulled one into the painting.  Stay well.

Mindy December 13, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Jackie: The drawing in the plate took about an hour or so. I had it already worked out on tracing paper before I etched. all of the details were worked out before hand so the actually etching didn't take as long. Mistakes can be fixed on a plate but I like to get the drawing "right" before I spend all that time on the plate, or painting for that matter. I did mostly aquatint on both pieces with a bit of dry point. Can't wait to try more!

Rich: I took printmaking with Lennie & Mike when I was at Kean. I think it is much more rewarding now because not only have I found my "voice" but now I actually can draw!!!! I am going to find the time and space to continue with printmaking as it is a satisfying and exciting thing to do. I really miss clay and haven't done any since the days back when……but I am still tempted to dive into that again too. It is so great to have all these fun and creative paths to travel….. Yes, many lifetimes are needed to do it "all".
Thanks for the comment about my work. I try to make it move on the paper as if it is dancing. I can't wait to see some of your botanicals and hear some of that music and taste some of that cooking!

Happy creating!!!!!       Mindy

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