Looking at the self-portrait studies I’ve been working on, I decided to experiment and try out a different technique today. Up until this point, I’ve limited myself to working the etching ink on the surface with my hands. I like the direct nature of this way of working; it has a raw and straightforward quality that is appropriate for my subject matter. However, one aspect that has been bothering me is how mushy some of the form can appear to look with this technique. The marks tend to have softer edges and can get smooth and smeary in a lot of areas. I know that a lot of the form gets clarified in the next stage with the lithographic crayon and exacto knife, but I wanted to find another way to get that in earlier in the process. I needed some way to give my marks more bite and edge to them as a contrast to these smoother passages. I tried building marks with the etching ink using a palette knife, which has a completely different feel than the marks made with my hands. I liked the bluntness and vigor of the palette knife marks right away, they seemed to lend more structure to the drawings overall. The work with the palette knife was the closest I’ve come to anything remotely resembling a painting process, so it should be interesting to see where this could lead.
I also reworked this figure study below, cross hatching with an exacto knife and adding dark areas with lithographic crayon.