There are ranges of qualities to be had from a drypoint plate.† The important thing to remember is that the burr sticks above the plate.† Ink sticks to the plate in 3 places; the far side of the line on that burr, the valley caused by the needle, and the near side.† The amount of ink that accumulates is these 3 spots is determined by: 1) the viscosity of the ink 2) the nature of the material used to wipe the plate, and 3) the thoroughness with which the plate is wiped.
Note: The barrier creams intended to protect hands from absorbing chemicals will become sticky and leave unpleasant and unpredictable streaks on the plate.
Paper, when slid over the plate, is harder than the hand and rides up and over the burr creating an even broader line.† Many printers develop favorite papers such as phone books or TV Guide pages that either fit their hand well, or slide across the plate well. One artist uses wood blocks wrapped in newsprint.
Abrasive qualities in ink
A fourth factor that impacts printing is the abrasive quality of the ink.† Inks which contain more bone black will wipe cleaner than those containing more vine or lamp black. Most etching inks are ground to a coarser texture than lithography inks. A variety of products to modify inks are marketed but few impart an abrasive quality. Adding materials such as Brasso metal polish to the ink will increase the abrasive quality when moderate amounts are used.
Yet another factor which impacts printing is retrossage, which means rubbing back in.† Retrossage is done
after the plate is completely wiped.†
The plate is placed on a cold surface such as the jigger to
the left of the hotplate.† An
inky tarlaton is warmed on the hotplate
as the printing plate cools.† The warmed tarlaton
is then passed over the surface of the plate.†
The pressure used at this stage is so light that it might be
analogous to wiping a speck of dust from your friendís eye.† The warm ink in the tarlaton
will accumulate on the colder ink that is on the plate.† The image will become perceptibly richer.† One last enriching strategy is simply heating
the plate after the process.† The
plate seems to seat a fine gray film which will translate into plate