High pressure is used to transfer the ink to dampened paper, which is pushed into the lines and pulls out the ink. The design is drawn on a metal plate covered with a protective varnish or waxy ground and the plate is then etched using acid.
The longer the plate is in the acid, the deeper the lines become. The ground is removed, the plate is inked, and the surface is wiped clean, leaving the etched image holding the ink.
A range of effects can be achieved, including using techniques like sugar-lift, aquatint, open bite, dry point, carborundum, photo-etching, collagraphs, and multi plate printing.
The inks used are oil-based, and detergent-washable inks are recommended for easy clean up. The plates can be etched using ferric chloride, salt etch, or nitric acid. A beginner can produce satisfying prints in just one day, and it’s not necessary to be a professional artist.