Creating an Acrylic Spray Aquatint

Researchers: Audrey Blood and Jenny Gover

Aquatint is a method of creating tonal value in intaglio printmaking. An acrylic ground is applied in a fine particulate spray onto a degreased plate and then hardened. The acrylic spray acts as a resist, allowing acid to bite around the particles of ground that have adhered to the surface of the plate, creating a smooth, even tone.

Our task was to create a formula to replace our existing acrylic spray aquatint mixture, which was no longer in production. We began by researching several different formulas and assessing them for quality and durability. We based our mixtures on recipes from the Edinburgh Printmakers (www.edinburghprintmakers.co.uk), Friedhard Kiekeben of www.nontoxicprint.com, and the experiments of Tracy Hill and Emma Gregory (nontoxicintaglio.tumblr.com) Links to all of our tests appear below.