The aim with this plate is to combine it with my soft ground etched plant material from a few weeks ago, which will be printed as a second layer.
I thought it might be interesting to be looking through the plants to a lake or river, perhaps with ducks or swans. So, using my beginner’s guide to drawing book, I picked up my pencil.
Duck head and shaping was quite good but I wasn’t sure what to do with the folded wings and the book had a good example of a swan and cygnets that I could learn from, so I went with that. The images were then regrouped whilst being transferred to tracing paper using a 6B pencil.
My zinc plate was prepared as for the soft ground etching: cleaned, degreased and heated on the hotplate to 90 degrees, then hard wax was applied. It melted the same way as the soft wax and was then rolled to form a smooth covering. Once cold it dried to a very hard finish and the traced image could be laid on the surface and put through an etching press (reduced pressure) to transfer the graphite to the wax.
Due to a lighting issue my photo didn’t come out well enough so here is a view of a transfer from a classmate (Cynthia). Using an etching tool I then proceeded to draw into the wax using the transferred lines as a guide. Detail not transferred was added as the etching evolved. My design is quite detail-specific and it was surprisingly difficult to see where to etch as the light played over the golden surface of the waxed zinc.
Once complete, the plate was immersed in a nitric acid & water solution (ratio 1:8) for several minutes, checking from time to time and wafting with a feather to remove bubbles, for the design to be bitten into the plate. When satisfied, I dissolved the remaining wax, cleaned the plate and took a proof print.