How to: Multi Colour Drypoint Etching – One Plate, One Go

This tutorial is from 2010 (!), and I plan to update it as soon as possible. It is still very popular and people find it helpful, so I’ll keep it here for now.

If you are interested in drypoint you might want to have a look at my new post about Collagraph printmaking using Tetra Pak!

This is a follow up post on my tutorial about Drypoint etchings (…›‘How To: Drypoint on Perspex (Plexi-glass)’ ). This post describes how to apply different ink layers onto one plate to print various colours in one go. I use this technique in the ‘Afternoon Tea’ and ‘Miyu’ series. The plate is inked using Charbonel oil based etching inks, the plate is pulled using a professional etching press on Hahnemühle etching paper and now … the interesting bit ^_^ …

Miyu Shhh… No. 6

First colour layer

The plate is prepared like discribed in ‘#1 Transferring the artwork onto the plate’ keeping in mind that various colours will be used. For the Miyu prints all the lines should be black, so I cover the plate with black ink first, making sure that the ink reaches down into the incised lines. I carefully wipe the surface ink from the plate using gauze.


Additional colours

I would like to have a very transparent layer of red on the dress and just the faintest blueish shadow around the character. I use cotton swab to dab colour onto those areas.


I apply both colours at once seeing that every wiping will remove more ink form the existing layers. Wiping the coloured areas without mudding down the colours too much will need some exercise. Rather than wiping with the gauze straight away I use a trick. I cover the inked plate with a phone book page and use a roller to remove the excess surface ink from the plate onto the paper. I repeat this two to three times, before wiping very carefully using gauze in small circular movements.


Remember not to ‘over wipe’ the plate! Only part of the ink will be transfered onto the paper! Finish the wiping setting highlights using clean cotton swab or a soft gauze.


That’s basically it.


Happy printmaking!

1 comment

  1. Hi Minu, I love your prints and your style. I’m trying to learn some printmaking techniques. Thank you very much for your tutorial. It has been very helpful for my.

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