Japanese Koi Carp, Etching and Aquatint
Herring on a Plate, Etching and Aquatint

Both these prints have been made using a process called Sugar Lift, which involves the artist painting onto a zinc or copper plate a liquid solution made up of water, black ink and sugar. It is a really exciting way of marking the plate at the start of the etching process as it can be applied with a brush or any implement that can move the solution around, without marking the plate beneath. This gives the image a very painterly effect. It is also very easy to see the image developing on the plate, as at this stage of the image-making, the marks are done ‘in the positive’ unlike the traditional way of applying the image which is applied ‘in the negative’.

There are further steps to the process which eventually turns the painterly marks ‘into the negative’ when the Sugar Lift is removed from the plate. These exposed areas of the plate are given an aquatint which can then be etched in the normal way.

It was very exciting for me to see how quickly the images appeared, and in particular, that there were no etching lines to guide the aquatint. The aquatint is etched into tones building up the images, the resulting simplicity of the marks are really very beautiful.