Monday, October 4, 2010

Drypoint using Akua Intaglio on Sintra

I've been using 3mm Sintra sheets (it resembles a plastic foam-core) as a matrix for drypoints for about 3 years now. My editions aren't huge and I can get decent pulls up to about 40 prints. The lines look good--like an etching--but without the hefty cost of copper. One drawback might be plate tone and the easy-to-scratch factor (you can only slightly minimize scratches by burnishing, unlike copper), but I like plate tone and incidental marks, so it's all good. I ventured back into the print studio last week to finish up an edition of this print. I ended up making a huge technical blunder, but that comes later in the post.

Step 1: scratch into a Sintra plate that has it's edges filed and sanded. To do the drypoint, I used a carbide scribe, which you can easily find at a hardware store (It's used as a plumber's scribe to mark on copper pipes), but you can use all kinds of things from sandpaper to a scraper. Here's a close up so you can see what the plate looks like after it's been scratched. (I've inked the plate up a couple of times, that's why you see black--it's just ink residue.)

Step 2: Ink the plate. I use Akua Intaglio ink. It never forms an ink skin and it cleans up with water. Here I've applied it with a card.

Step 3: Wipe excess Akua Intaglio ink with a paper towel. I've found that if I use a tarlatan I wipe off too much ink. On occasion, depending on the plate, I've used only telephone book pages. If you're into conserving materials (always a good practice) you can rinse used paper towels with water, ring them out, and hang them to dry for the next day's printing. 

 Step 3a: admire your efforts. :)


Step 4: Dampen paper. I used Arches paper for this project. No need to soak paper, just slip it into the paper bath and pull it out. OK, you're ready to print. Note: Make sure to fully blot the paper, or your lines will look like what I have to the left. I've found that Akua is unforgiving if the paper is not evenly blotted. Use a drafting brush to help brush off any excess water spots.

Here's how the print is supposed to look.

Step 5: Clean up. This is super easy. Use Dawn dish detergent and put several drops on your plate. Don't add water yet and wipe with a paper towel. After your plate has been fully wiped with soap, add some squirts of water. I never seem to get my plates fully clean. You could use Bon Ami mixed with a little bit of water to form a paste and gently hand wash your plate if you want all the ink removed.

Ready for the technical blunder? I was supposed to chine colle a print (a solar plate on Japanese paper) to this print. I managed to band-aid the chine colle later, which I'll post about soon.


Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to try this method for a while but didn't have enough info. I love plates with texture. Maybe you would like to teach a workshop for WPA next year.

Cathy Savage said...

Sure! I'd be happy to. I love the Sintra board. The results are surprising--so much more like an etched line vs. a drypoint line. The price is right too. Regal Plastics ( off 183 sells a 22 x 30" sheet for only $12.

aine scannell said...

Hi there I am really enjoying reading your blog and I like how you share your processes - I try to do that as much as possible too. I mean I learned a lot from other people so its good to share our knowledge and experience.

Anyway this sintra board - they dont seem to sell it here in the UK. Please would you send me a close up photo of it to my email
From your description it kind of sounds like foamboard I mean with the foam in the centre and then the plastic either side although with foamboard its more paper on either side. I wish I could try some - it sounds like an excellent product and I love the print you made with it. Best wishes


P.s. why don't you have the "follow this blog" widget enabled - It would help me to keep track of you.

Cathy Savage said...

Hi Aine,

Thanks for reading! The Sintra is just like foamboard, but yes, not paper on either side but plastic. The foam in the middle resembles aerated plastic and could be fully submerged in water without getting saturated. I can send you a piece of the Sintra for you to try. I have several that I've cut down for my camping series, and can easily pop it in an envelope. I'll send you a private email in a minute requesting your mailing address. For some reason I think another manufacturer of the product (under the name Simona), is out of Germany. Not sure why I think that...

I started following your blog last week! You and I have a common thread of someone you may or may not know personally-- Printmaker Debbie Little Wilson suggested I check out your site. I'm not sure what you mean by "follow this blog" widget. Do you mean by email or blog to blog or by RSS? I'm new to this whole thing and not sure what's good to have. Any advice welcome!!

rachel whetzel said...

Cathy, Aine is talking about the gadget you can add in your design area of your blog that shows photos of people who follow your blog. If it's in your sidebar, it's easy for people to click and use. I have one on my sidebar if you want to see what I'm talking about.
HOWEVER, Aine, you can always follow any blogger blog by clicking the FOLLOW link at the very top of the blog itself. It's just next to the search box at the top left of the screen.

Cathy Savage said...

yay! Thanks for the tip on the Followers. I have it now!

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy
I have been fooling around with Sintra for a while and have found a way to get rid of the plate tone. I am going out now to get the scribe because I have not been happy with the angular gouged quality of the lines I get with the etching needle I have been using.

To get rid of the plate tone, firstI file the edges of the plate and then paint the plate very carefully from a new can of acrylic varnish using a very soft nylon brush. Sometimes I use spray-on like Krylon. I use oil base ink, though, because I do oil monotypes. I like to give the filed edges another coat because the foam matrix that is exposed there becomes "unwipe-able" while I am printing--I can't get the edges clean unless I do that.
Thank you so much for your blog post

karen vornov said...

that last post was mine
why did it say anonymous? if you click on the anonymous you'll see my name

Cathy Savage said...

Hi Karen! I enjoyed looking at your work and your blog. Good stuff!

I've heard of using varnish before. Someone gave me the tip of using Future Floor Polish, which is a really thin acrylic coating that can be found in supermarkets--the fragrance they add to it reeks though. I think the Akua does something weird to the polish, breaks it down or something, because it seems to be permanently tacky after using the ink. I've never heard of using the Krylon! I'll be sure to give it a try. I have a collagragh that I've created on Sintra and I think I'm going to switch to using oil-based ink on it. I used Daniel Smith's Creamy French Black yesterday on a different plate, and I tell you, nothing can replicate that color.