Copper Plate Print

By Lindsey Lockwood

In the past several weeks, I have shown printed media that was all made by carving into linoleum; so this week I thought I’d discuss a print made by etching a plate instead of carving a block.


My first etching ever was into plastic, but this specific one was into a copper plate. The plastic plate is simpler to do and a good introduction to this process, because you carve directly into the material. When it comes to printing copper plates, you don’t actually carve into the copper but rather into a coating of hard ground that you apply as a preliminary coat on the plate. When all the carving is complete, the copper plate is submerged in ferric chloride; this dissolves and removes the sections of copper exposed to the solution where the hard ground coating has been removed.  The pigment, which is usually an oil based ink, is then worked into the copper grooves that have been dissolved away.


Each contour, patch of shading and mark were created by this process. I chose to do a depiction of Atlas with the weight of the world on his shoulders because this was a time when I had two studio courses focused on the human body, so I was heavily interested on creating figurative work.

Same print on a different color of Stonehenge paper, Matted for display.

Even though linoleum is what I gravitate towards working with the most, this is a medium I definitely plan on exploring again sometime soon. Copper carving affords an extensive amount of detail!

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