FEATURE

Soft ground

Soft ground was invented in the latter half of the eighteenth century as a means of reproducing the grainy qualities of chalk work. It was first used in England by Gainsborough and artists of the Norwich School.

TECHNIQUE

Soft ground

Soft ground was invented in the latter half of the eighteenth century as a means of reproducing the grainy qualities of chalk work. It was first used in England by Gainsborough and artists of the Norwich School.

Mixing hard ground with tallow, petroleum jelly, or lard makes soft ground. Because of the added grease the ground never hardens so lines, objects and textures can be easily impressed into it.

Soft ground is a great way into printmaking if you like textures and patterns, or want to recreate a pencil drawing effect. It can be used with other etching techniques on the same plate to achieve different layered effects.

more printmaking techniques

Aquatint

Fine resin dust is applied to the surface of the etching plate, then melted from underneath to melt and harden the dots of resin. When immersed in acid the plate ‘bites’ between the aquatint resin dots, creating a distribution of tiny holes on the plate which print as a tone.

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Carborundum

Abrasive carborundum grit (silicon carbide) is mixed with acrylic medium or glue and painted onto a flat surface, such as plastic or metal.

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Linocut

In this relief printing process, an image is carved or etched into a sheet of linoleum. Ink is applied to the lino using a roller; the cut-away areas do not pick up ink. Paper is placed down onto the image and either printed on a press or printed by hand.

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“I think all visual art is a metaphor”

Following a previous career as a forensic psychiatrist, James Anderson’s colourful carborundum and layered woodcuts convey the emotion of inner worlds. We discuss abstraction, inspiration and the hard work of practice with him.

Artist:
James Anderson

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“Revealing the unknown is always the thing I’m interested in”

SooMin Leong’s practice focuses on the transition from one place to another, both through literal journeys and the many stages that go into making her prints. Each is a story informed by the experience and impression of travelling. We interviewed her about her own journey into printmaking.

Artist:
SooMin Leong

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Woodcut

Knives, gouges and other tools are used to carve an image into a block of wood. Ink is applied using a roller; the cut away areas do not pick up ink as they are below the surface. Paper is placed on top and is printed with a press or by hand.

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