On etchings, the grooves on the plate (zinc or copper) are made chemically by acid which corrodes and bites into the metal. This is done by coating the plate with an acid-resistant film which is called the ground. A picture is drawn into the ground with a needle to expose the underlying metal. The plate is then immersed in a bath of acid which erodes the exposed metal. When the desired depth has been obtained, the ground is cleaned off so that prints can be taken from the metal.
AquatintThe technique of aquatint is used to obtain tonal areas on a print. To put it simply, it means the etching into the plate of hundreds of tiny pits which give the effect of tonality.
A very fine layer of resin dust is sprinkled on the clean plate. When heated, this dust melts and becomes fixed to the plate and can resist acid. When the plate is etched (placed into its bath of acid) only the bare metal areas around each resin particle etches. The longer the plate is left in acid, the deeper the grooves become, this causes more ink to be retained on the plate.
EmbossingEmbossing is paper printing without ink.
PrintingPrinting is a step which is an an indissociable part of the etching process. It shows the work done on the plate.
The technique involves filling all the recess lines and dots on the plate with ink and then, with a dampened sheet of paper on top it, running it through a press so that the ink is transferred to the paper. In theory, anything below the surface on the plate will print.
The editionThe edition is the set of similar proofs taken from the master. Each print is signed and numbered. For example, on an edition of 20 prints they will be numbered from 1 to 20 Ex : 1/20, 2/20, 3/20, 4/20 etc...
The artist proofs make up an additionnal 10% of the edition. These are added to the regular edition and are possibly different from it. They are signed, identified as Epreuve d'artiste or E/A and numbered in roman numerals. Ex:E/A I/XX, E/A II/XX, E/A III/XX etc...