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You are in: Online Resources > Online Exhibitions > Christoper Le Brun > Etching Techniques

Etching Techniques

The prints embrace the full range of techniques of etching on copper, including hardground, softground, aquatint, sugarlift, drypoint, open-bite, deep-bite, spit-bite, white-ground heliogravure, and burnishing.

In hardground etching, a metal plate is covered with a waxy ground. The artist draws through the ground with a point, revealing the bare metal. The plate is immersed in acid, which eats into the metal where it is exposed by the drawing. These marks hold ink, which is printed onto paper in a heavy rolling press.

Variations of this technique give the artist a wider range of drawn and painted marks: 

Softground enables the artist to draw on paper laid over the ground; the ground sticks and lifts with the paper, exposing the plate where the artist has drawn.

Aquatint creates tone by etching a random pattern of 'dots' through a ground of scattered grains of resin.

Sugarlift allows the artist to paint with a solution that lifts the ground when immersed in water.

Acid can also be brushed directly onto a bare plate (open-bite), or onto an aquatint ground (spit-bite).

Burnishing polishes the plate to create highlights.