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Print Techniques

Intaglio Printing

This is the general term used for the technique by which one takes prints from a metal plate, (usually copper or steel), upon which have been made indentations and grooves, to produce an image.

There are various ways of making these marks, but once they have been made and the artist is satisfied, the plate is always printed in basically the same way. Ink is put on the plate and rubbed into the indentations. Damp paper is then placed on the metal before it is passed through a printing press at high pressure. The damp paper is forced into the grooves to collect ink to form the image. The final image is always a mirror image of the original one drawn on the plate. All Bryan Evans' prints are produced using one or other intaglio process, often combining several.

Etching

The various etching techniques involve making marks in the metal using acid. An acid resistant ground is first put on the plate. This is scratched through using a fine point or some other technique. When placed in a bath of acid, the acid bites into the metal that has been revealed. When the artist is satisfied with the image it can be printed.

Mezzotint

This is an engraving process. A copper plate is usually used, as a soft metal is needed. The plate is first scratched into using tools called roullettes or rockers. Thousands of pitted marks are made to produce a plate which, if now printed, would produce a rich, velvety, dark tone. The image is then made by scraping away these marks to produce parts of the plate that would print lighter in tone.

Mezzotints can often be recognised by the subtle tonality, as well as rich dark and shadow tones. Because it is a very labour intensive technique, mezzotints are often quite small in size.

Original Prints

The works produced by these methods are called original prints. They are produced in limited editions, (usually 50-100), and are individually numbered e.g 1/50. A small number, (usually about 10% of the total edition are called artist's proofs (A/P), and are traditionally kept for the artist's private collection. Original Prints differ from so-called limited edition reproduction prints, (which are mechanically produced photographic images), as they are individually printed by the artist (or a skilled printer ). They are not unique, as there are other similar ones in the edition, but they are original, as they are not a copy of an existing work of art.