The etching process dates from the 16th century, and no photographic aids are used. The artist draws through a resin resist (which is impervious to acid) on to a copper plate with an etching needle. The plate is then immersed in ferric chloride acid so that it is etched along the needle lines. This etched linear drawing provides the foundation for all plates. The three other stages in the making of my plates involve aquatint, screen print and lithography, in varying degrees. Final highlights are then achieved by burnishing back into the surface of the plate exposing the linear structure of the image. The plates are then inked up and hand printed on to acid-free 300 gram weight Somerset paper through a 200 year old intaglio press.
Another intaglio process using acid, in which the plate is carefully and evenly covered with a powdered resin dust and heated, so that each particle of dust becomes crystallized and adheres firmly to the plate. The particles leave small exposed sections of the plate, which are then bitten by immersion in acids. Through a series of resin treatments delicate gradations of tone can be produced. The aquatint is characterized by a fine or coarse grainy texture of tones.
The screen printing process uses a porous mesh screen made of fabric or stainless steel stretched tightly over a frame made of wood or metal. A stencil is produced on the screen either manually or photochemically to define the image to be printed. Ink is then forced through the fine mesh openings using a squeegee that is drawn across the screen. Ink will pass through only in areas where no stencil is applied, thus forming an image on the page.
Photogravure is a process dating back to the mid-19th century whereby photographic images are printed using forms of mechanised etching of plates. Photogravure commonly uses a flat copper plate, etched deeply which is then printed by hand. The process is noted for its production of very rich, very high quality colour results.