It’s kind of hard to see here, but this is what an etching looks like while I am working on it. I make the drawing with a sharp pointed etching needle in the hard ground (the brown/black coating) and next I will put it in an acid bath which etches the line drawing into the plate. Then I will run the plate through the press and see how it looks when it is reversed. If the drawing looks okay and I don’t want to change it, then next I will make tones in a process called aquatinting. I aquatint using a powder called rosin- you dust a plate with rosin, then melt it to the plate. When you put the plate into acid, it bites away at the plate around the teeny rosin particles, and that makes a tone. You control the tone strength with timing- the longer it stays in the acid, the darker it gets. You block out the parts you want to keep light with hard ground to protect them. I am not a practiced hand at aquatinting, so I usually have to go through it a lot to get it right and sometimes I mess it up all together. I’ve put a lot of time into the drawing, so hopefully I can get the plate etched right! This is a bigger etching for me- 18 x 24 inches. Off to Zygote Press this week!