Today I focused exclusively on working on the etching ink portion of the process. I was going to go into the others with the exacto knife, but the drawings weren’t quite entirely dry. I’ve been trying to turn my brain off and not think so much when I work on the etching ink. Lately the etching ink has been feeling like a “do or die” type of situation. I don’t like putting that kind of pressure on myself because it’s really distracting to the drawing process, but its completely true: if the etching ink work isn’t strong, continuing with the portrait would be like kicking a dead horse. I know that there’s not much I can do with the lithographic crayon and exacto knife to fix it. I hate to render such harsh judgment on a piece so early in the process, but every time I’ve proceeded with a portrait I didn’t feel good about I always ended up scrapping the piece in the end.
Doing so much etching ink work in one day has definitely gotten me to recognize my odd quirks and habits. I’m right handed, and I’ve noticed that the majority of the image is smeared into the Dura-Lar with my middle finger. I use my middle and pointer finger to blend and shade light passages, and my thumb to fill large areas of black. In general, the etching ink work accounts for about 80% of the finished image, and generally takes about 60-90 minutes to complete.
(above) redo No. 5 in progress
no. 50 in progress