Ugo Gattoni is a French Artist and illustrator who has recently presented his first limited edition drypoint etching titled ‘Sybille’s bath’. Only 30 prints are available and each one has been individually signed and numbered by Ugo. Made in the Urdla print facility in Villeurbanne (France), this dreamlike composition features references to Ugo’s girlfriend Sybille’s anatomy, and Escher’s perspective work. The printmaking process has been documented at every stage of its creation from the etching through to printing, using the mediums of photography and film, resulting in a six-minute mini documentary which you can watch in full here…
A few days before Ugo began his work on this etching, Vincent Brunet (copperplate printer) washed the copper plate with calcium carbonate to remove grease. He then laid a thin coat of acid-resistant engraving varnish and then smoked the plate with a torch lighter, to make the ground darker so the exposed metal is more visible.
Ugo prepared a sketch of his composition, which he placed over the copper plate before engraving it. The copper was exposed and the first of the lines started to appear and by the end of the first day, the outline of his drawing was engraved.
The etching stage took Ugo a total of seven days and once finished it was time to prepare the plate for printing. Next came the bite stage where the plate was soaked in an acid bath (ferric chloride) to enhance the areas without varnish. The longer the plate is washed, the longer the acid enhances the width and the depth of the line. After checking this operation with a microscope, the varnish was removed with a solvent and the plate was then ready to be inked up.
Vincent Brunet dipped the paper into a clean water bath for better absorption of the ink on the press. The ink was prepared on a heated support to make it more fluid, and he then filled the plate with ink, ensuring it got into all the grooves. Using a tarlatan, he removed the excess of ink to keep it only in the hollow parts. The plate was placed on the pins of the press plate.
The press was turned on and when the sheet was removed, the etching and the contour of the plate appeared. Ugo checked the first print, which allowed Vincent to change the intensity of the dark colour. The print order was signed by the artist to validate the printing process. Vincent could then proceed with the printing of the 30 copies based on that one. Afterwards each etching was placed vertically for several days for drying, and then one on top of each other to avoid any undulation.