Etching is a traditional printmaking technique that has not changed much over the centuries. Artists like Durer and Rembrandt and Goya used materials and techniques for etching that are much the same as those used today.

The basic materials involved in etching are a metal plate coated in an acid-resistant ground and a mordant that will cause the metal to corrode.

The acid bites into the surface of the metal, and creates channels and pits that will hold ink. This ink is then transferred to paper under the intense pressure of an etching press. Each print is called an impression, and normally forms part of a limited edition.

There are many stages involved in etching and printing the plate, and each part of the process has an impact on the final result. Temperature, humidity, acid strength, ink viscosity, type of paper, pressure of the etching press, and many other factors all influence the outcome. Most of these things are controllable to a degree but achieving a good result is also dependant on continually adjusting and responding to changes in the working environment.

To read more about each stage of the process click on the menu links above.