Sandra’s Process for Itaglio or Copper Plate Etchings

“I love to transfer my drawings onto copper pates for etching. Each copper plate is prepared with a soft ground, usually beeswax, prior to transferring my drawing. I draw my image into the soft ground knowing that the image will print as reverse or mirror image. Once the image is complete, the plate is then covered on the back with a protective coating and placed in an acid bath. The period of time in the bath varies to produce the depth of the etch required for the boldness of line I wish to create. Multiple etchings of each plate are required for different line quality, width and depth in various areas of my illustrations.

The plate must be rinsed and cleaned after etching. I then ink and hand wipe the plate until I am satisfied that the plate will produce the image. The inked plate is placed on the press bed. Special, archival etching paper is soaked in water and blotted prior to placement in the press. Both the plate and the paper are covered with felt blankets to protect them as they are rolled through the press to transfer the image onto the paper. At this point the basic image is in place. This process will be repeated many times as I develop the plate.

When I am satisfied, the process of printing the edition can begin. Each print is hand inked and run through the press. When the entire edition is finished, usually 50 prints or less, I sign, title and number each individual print.”