Zinc plates


Zinc plates are an economical alternative to the copper plates traditionally used for etchings.  Zinc and copper are etched with different chemicals, and I no longer have access to the nitric acid used for zinc plates.  I have a few of these plates left over from my college printmaking classes, and have decided to get them out of storage and experiment with the dreaded drypoint techniques. Drypoint doesn’t need any etching acid–the lines are scratched directly into the plate.  I always associate drypoint with Mary Cassatt, who appreciated the medium as a test of her drawing skills.  My etchings begin as carefully prepared drawings that are transferred onto copper with carbon paper; approaching drypoint in the same way seems contrary to the spirit of the medium.  The printed results of drawing freehand into metal can be unpredictable if not downright hideous, but I have no doubt that the prints will improve before I run out of zinc plates.

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