What is a color etching?
The color in these prints is achieved through a multiple plate process. The drawing is first etched on a zinc plate. This will be the line plate and will be inked in the darkest color – a dark blue. The image is then transferred to two other plates (these will be the yellow and red colors), and all three plates are then aquatinted (a rosin powder is dusted evenly over the plates, then melted to form a sticky, acid-resistant surface).
Each plate is then submerged in acid. The area where color is desired is left open to the acid. Other areas are blocked out (painted) with shellac (which is resistant to acid). Each plate is then inked up: one red, one yellow, one blue. The plates are put through the etching press one at a time, and the over printing of transparent inks gets a full spectrum of color.