Aquatint & Lithography Collection
Aquatint (Lat. aqua, water, and tincta, dyed) is a kind of etching which imitates washes with a brush. There are many ways of preparing a plate for aquatint, the following being recommended by P. G. Hamerton. Have three different solutions of rosin in rectified alcohol, making them of various degrees of strength, but always thin enough to be quite fluid, the weakest solution being almost colourless.
To create an aquatint first pour the strongest solution on the plate. When it dries it will produce a granulation; and you may now bite as in ordinary etching for your darker tones, stopping out what the acid is not to operate upon, or you may use a brush charged with acid, perchloride of iron being a very good mordant for the purpose. After cleaning the plate, you proceed with the weaker solutions in the same way, the weakest giving the finest granulation for skies, distances, etc.
The process requires a good deal of stopping-out, and some burnishing, scraping, etc., at last. Aquatint may be effectively used in combination with line etching, and still more harmoniously with soft ground etching in which the line imitates that of the lead pencil.
1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 2. pg. 239
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