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This generic term covers different etching techniques where the drawing lines are achieved by the action of an acid on the metal plate.

The Siesta
"La Sieste"
"The Siesta"

Soft varnish

This consists of a soft varnish, which does not dry completely. The etcher draws on a piece of paper applied to the plate which has been soaked in this product. The varnish sticks to the paper in those places where drawing strokes have been made. When the paper is removed the varnish is thereby removed from the plate in those areas. The action of an acid on the plate produces a soft and sensitive image in printing.


Hard varnish

The metal is first covered in a hard varnish. The artist draws by scratching the protective varnish to uncover the plate. This is submerged in an acid (often a nitric acid - aquafortis hence the name) which attacks the metal in those unvarnished areas. As soon as the action of the acid is sufficiently deep the rest of the varnish is removed using a solvent. Finally, it is ready for the first drawing or first stage. The plate is inked and then printed.

Text: B. Bonnier, N. Malinconi, V. Carpiaux - Information
Translation: Caroline McLoughlin
Design and Production: Infographie-Ciger s.a.
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