192 bus print

192 bus (Work in progress)
Size: 20 x 14 cms

Etching print (Test line print)

This is my latest etching print which depicts the famous 192 bus service from Manchester. I am often asked how I come up with ideas and how I transfer these to an finished print.


Firstly, I start my capturing a series of photographs on location of the chosen subject matter I want to depict. I tend to use my phone’s built-in camera which is pretty good or a DSLR camera or even my trusty compact camera. As long as the image is clear, has good contrast and is importantly easy to trace, I have my perfect image. Most of the work is done for me with the photo such as composition but sometimes a landmark does not exist anymore, so I have to source images elsewhere and sketch my own interpretation which can be made of a montage of images merged together. Once an image has been chosen, I create a series of images which I drop into a software program called PowerPoint. In preparation, I create three slides in a PowerPoint file;

Slide #1. The original photo

Slide #2. A reverse version of the photo

Slide #3. A reverse inverted photo – I use a free online software program called Raw ISO to invert the photo Link: www.https://raw.pics.io/

The reversed inverted images are used later on as a guide when I am in the process of stopping out the different tonal areas on the plate and also to ensure any lettering or words etched onto the plate are in reverse.


I then trace my chosen image using 90gsm tracing paper. I tend to buy A3 (297 x 420mm) tracing pads as my images vary in size from small to large. I use a HB graphite pencil or something softer as the tracing will have to transfer to the waxed coated plated.


Once I have captured all the lines I need using the tracing paper, I then prepare the plate with hard ground wax which comes in a solid round block. The etching plate is then heated on a repurposed plate warmer and the wax then melts onto the plate. A dabber is then used to distribute the wax evenly and with a sufficient layer of wax.

The plate is then passed once through the press and the carbon from the tracing sticks to the wax making a reverse copy which is then ready for the lines to be scratched using a pointed etching tool.

Inverted reversed photograph

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