Drypoint is a printmaking technique that creates a line-based image by using sharp tools to scratch into the surface of a copper plate. The style of this method lends itself well to loose drawing and expressive, fluid mark making.

Often confused with the process of etching, Drypoint is in itself an individual, standalone technique. It consists of drawing, or ‘engraving’, fairly deeply into the copper plate using specialist tools in order to create an image. Unlike etching there is no use of resists or mordants to bite the metal plate, making drypoint a fairly simple way to create a plate for printing multiple prints.

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Drypoint at Green Door

At Green Door, we use copper plates in order to create our drypoint prints. We feel this metal gives the drypoint print a certain image quality which distinguishes it from etchings. By using copper, there is a soft ‘burr’ in the ink quality, which is created by the curl of the metal produced when drawing with the etching needle. This ‘burr’ is something which printers like to maintain by printing and wiping carefully.

Drypoint technique has historically often been used by artists to correct plates when they are being etched, but as a stand-alone process it can be a very versatile and precise medium.