What is Drypoint Printing?

drypoint etching at Slamseys Printmaking in Essex
Prepping the drypoint plate

Drypoint printing is an intaglio technique for producing editions from a printing plate.

Plates can be made from cardboard, metal or clear perspex.

Marks or burrs are scratched into the surface with an etching or drypoint needle, or anything sharp enough to leave a mark, such as a nail.

The plate is inked with a specially formulated intaglio ink, using scrim to push the ink into the marks in the plate’s surface. Each printmaker will have their own particular way of inking a plate.

learn drypoint printmaking at slamseys essex
Wiping the perspex plate

Paper that has been soaked and blotted is placed on top of the plate as it is pushed through an etching press.

Peeling the paper off from one corner, the print is revealed.

what is Drypoint printing, learn at Slamseys essex
Pulling the print – what is drypoint?

Scratch. Ink. Print. Repeat.

Drypoint is a great introduction to other intaglio techniques like etching, because it does not need any chemicals or acid to create the plates. Prints have a pen and ink feel to them and are great for artists who might want to make editions of their drawings. However, drypoint is also great for those who aren’t so confident with drawing, as you can trace over your own photographs or sketchbooks to make the design.

Want to find out more? Book onto one of our Drypoint Etching day courses or evening classes. You can see more examples of student work on our Facebook page.