Photo-etching (zinc plates)

by bookindian

Mentioned photo-etching in the first profile post – so here are a few images of one plate; there is also a blue print/photo-etching combo with colored pencil enhancements.


This is an image of photo-etched zinc plate; it was exposed and etched multiple times to achieve the the final image. The image consists of three different film positives. This plate was part of a project exploring sensitizing zinc etching plates and the use of several high contrast continuous tone film positives to create a montage of related photo images . . . a figure moving in a bathroom environment. A Kodak photo-sensitizing chemical was applied to a zinc etching plate, rather than using a plate that was pre-sensitized.


The plate was etched 5 or 6 times in a nitric acid bath diluted approximately 1:10 – 1 part nitric acid to 10 parts water . . . very often a stronger solution was used to speed up the etching process. Asphaltum was used as a block-out and applied with a brush. Finely powdered rosin was used to achieve the desired dark values, and the plates were hand-wiped after removing the excess ink with cheesecloth . . . for clean highlights tissue paper removed any ink residue . . . the tissue paper was used sparingly. Kerosene was used to remove the block-out and rosin aquatint.

For more images and detailed process information click . . .

A “combo” . . .


This “combo” is small in scale, but I made use of a large half-tone dot screen to create an image that was similar to a close-up view of a large-scale billboard image. Blue-print chemicals were used in addition to pencil (Prisma-Color) and a chemical bath to alter the color of parts of the blue-print.

My “mantra” is: “Know the history of your craft“.

Just FYI . . . I can draw . . . I decided to add a pencil sketch (figure study).