Dry point engraving

Drypoint engraving

Drypoint is both a tool and the term for an intaglio engraving process, that is most often practiced on copper. Paradoxically, the chisel is the technique most commonly associated with intaglio.

The principle consists in incising a matrix using a dry point or a chisel. Unlike the saving size, ink will settle into the incisions etched by the artist.

Engraving is done freehand with a knob, or even on an easel. This matrix is either copper, zinc (easier to burn, but little solid printing), plastic or plexiglas. Gesture must be spontaneous, for this reason we’re talking about “artist engraving”.

Box with the main tools of the engraver

All stages of drypoint engraving in 1 minute 45 seconds. Click here

Dry tips of different sizes.

The dry point

Dry point is a pointed tool, usually made of tungsten, ceramic or steel, the end of which is used to engrave lines in the metal. It handles like a pencil, and the sizes vary depending on the tip.

The tip action produces raised marks around the waistline called “barbs”. These can be removed for a cleaner line, or kept for a softer look. In this case, the number of prints must be limited because of the presence of barbs, which are very fragile.

The chisel

Unlike the dry point, the chisel is used by pushing. Thus the use of the chisel is less “free” than that of the drypoint. Moreover, the chisel creates “chips” instead of leaving “barbs”.

Jeu de burins de Taille douce


Printing is the common feature of intaglio engraving processes. Indeed, the inking method and the material used are the same.

On the other hand, the presence of very fragile beards makes the operation delicate, and limits the number of prints. This is why inking and wiping must be the subject of great care.

The proofs which have kept all the freshness of the first prints are said to be “with all their beards”. These are the most sought after; for this, numbering is considered important.

All Stages Of Intaglio Printing. Duration 1 Minute 49 Seconds Click HERE

The proofs which have kept all the freshness of the first prints are said to be “with all their beards”. These are the most sought after; for this, numbering is considered important.

Synoptic of printmaking methods

summary table of printmaking methods

Download synoptic of printmaking methods, click HERE

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