Gravures are etchings. They are hand printed by the artist, using an intaglio printing press. Finely ground pigment inks are printed on fine art paper, creating a richly toned image with velvety darks and creamy whites. Traditional etchings are created by the artist drawing on the printing plate to create the image. A photogravure is an etching that begins with a photograph as described below.
Very basic description of the process and equipment used
I've set up this blog to document my work in learning the process of polymer photogravures, or photo gravures. My background is in printmaking and painting, but I have always loved making photographs. This process may be a perfect link between those mediums.
The process begins with photographs I take using black and white film. The negatives are scanned into my computer and then printed out as a positive image on clear inkjet media. This positive image is placed in contact with a light-sensitve polymer plate and exposed. The plate is then developed in water and gently scrubbed with a soft brush. The areas of the plate that were exposed to light have been hardened, but the areas protected by the positive image are water soluble and wash away leaving lower areas that will later hold ink during printing. After the plate is dried and further hardened, it is treated much as any other etching plate. Artist's grade printing ink is worked into the grooves in the plate by hand, and then polished off the high areas. The plate is then placed in contact with damp printmaking paper and pulled through an intaglio press under great pressure. The paper is forced down into the grooves of the plate where it picks up the ink and the image is created.
Materials and equipment used:
Medium and large format cameras
Dell XPS 710 computer
Epson Perfection 3200 scanner
Epson 1280 inkjet printer
Pictorico overhead transparency media
Toyobo Printight KM73 photopolymer plate
Nuarc mercury UV exposure unit
Workpress custom intaglio press