This week I have been working on a collaborative etching project with my dad, calligrapher Duncan Tolmie. He has recently been experimenting with pointed pen style lettering – a more modern, informal calligraphy style. Lettering has a special affinity with traditional printmaking and I thought this new contemporary calligraphy with its free flowing curves and spontaneous marks would would work beautifully as an intaglio print. During a ransack of my dad’s sketchbook I came across a Picasso quote which became the starting point for our first calligraphic etching.
To transfer the design accurately, I printed the calligraphic lettering onto acetate and exposed the image onto the surface of the plate coated in photo-sensitive film. In the studio we aquatinted the plate then etched the lettering to a deep tone. After printing the first proof I recoated the plate in a wax ground and my dad drew some flourishes around the text with a very fine etching needle. This pattern was lightly etched and then the plate was inked up in viridian green and aquamarine to make a subtle gradient. I left some ink on the surface of the plate, particularly around the text, so there would be a subtle vignette and some tone in the background.
I also made a couple of smaller plates etched with the word ‘breathe’ which we inked in various colours. More to follow on these later….