Saturday, 19 March 2011


What is Dry point?
Dry point, like etching and engraving, belongs to the Intaglio family of printmaking, but is much more simple and direct than its relatives. In dry point the surface of the plate (usually metal but acetate works pretty well) is scratched, gouged, punctured, scraped or abraded, but the material itself is not removed, it is just pushed to the side, forming a kind of curl. Thus the lines will present a burr which, when looked at through a magnifying glass, shows up as a kind of broken wave, like the ridges of a ploughed field. It is this 'burr' which holds the ink, and gives a dry point line, or area, its typical velvety appearance. The great attraction of dry point printmaking, for artists of all levels and disciplines, is its simplicity. Materials and tools are cheap and easy to come by and the process itself couldn't be more straightforward, so much so that dry point plates can be produced on the kitchen table! No acid baths are required, as in etching, no consummate specialist skill is necessary, as in engraving, and results are quickly achieved. In addition, dry point work is absolutely ideal for combining with other printmaking techniques, such as etching, monotype, chine colle and collagraph/carborundum printmaking, and is perfect for further work, by hand, in watercolour, gouache or coloured inks.

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