Copper Etching Soft Ground: Step Two – Drawing

Posted on: September 27th, 2014
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As a soft ground BIG is quite sensitive. To draw into it, tape a piece of paper to a table surface (computer/bond paper works well). Put the coated plate beneath the paper and draw on the paper. This should lift the soft ground off of the plate, transferring it to the back of the paper.

If you see bright pink lines on the piece of paper this is a GOOD SIGN; it’s working. IF your computer paper is also covered in pink marks where you didn’t intend to make marks, you may need to wait longer before drawing into the soft ground.

With soft ground you can also press different textures or patterns (i.e. lace) into the surface. Put the plate on the press bed (pink side up). Next, put your patterned item (pattern side down) on the plate, followed by a layer of wax paper and a piece of newsprint. Run it through the press. Wax paper protects the blankets and maintains the integrity of the plate’s surface. Newsprint also protects the blankets, but the paper fibers can sometimes be legible in the impression depending on the amount of pressure.

After drawing into the soft ground, put your plate in the hot box for 45-50 minutes. Once BIG is dry, it will act as a hard ground. This hard ground is not equivalent to floor wax or other hard grounds; it is not as durable. You need to be gentle with the surface, but you can use a needle or roulettes to add more drawing to your plate, once it is dry.

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