Acrylic resist etching with Heike Roesel

Ref: SLW10787


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About this course

Explore the principle techniques of acrylic resist etching using steel plates and copper sulphate/salt as a biting solution. Working with hard and soft grounds, aquatints, colour and multi-plate printing.

Course Description

Traditionally an etching is created by coating a metal plate with a wax ground. The plate is drawn into by the artist with an etching needle and submerged into an acid bath. Where the wax ground has been opened up by the drawing, the exposed metal will be bitten down. The created lines will later hold the ink and print dark.

With acrylic resist etching a copper sulphate/salt solution replaces the acid as the biting mordant and acrylic emulsions replace the wax grounds. Aquatints are created using acrylic spray grounds. These techniques offer a wide range of creative options within a safer studio environment inviting you to experiment. Learn how to use these techniques confidently and compared to traditional etching, this acrylic resist method is suitable for using in small home studios.

You will start with the basics of learning how to prepare the steel plates followed by applying and drawing into the hard ground. You will learn to create tonal areas in your image using acrylic spray resist. Once these basics are covered, you can then explore soft ground techniques, how to use copper sulphate/salt spit bite and experimental wash resist grounds. These different techniques can be used on the same plate, or you can work on several plates creating several images. There is the option of printing with coloured inks and using multiple plates to create a variety of different colour layers within one image.

Throughout the course we will discuss creative options and develop your individual practice. You are free to bring prepared imagery to work from or develop your imagery during the course and be experimental in your approach.

The course is suitable for beginners and experienced etchers and printmakers.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply some of the materials including: cardboard off-cuts, newspaper cut to size for plate wiping, acetate for registration, yellow tape, soft brushes to apply grounds, pastry brush for biting mordant, coffee filter (to clean biting solution), plastic jars, glass jars, lids, grease proof paper, cling film, sponges for plates, materials for soft ground, cotton wool buds, small sponges, washing-up brush.
  • On this course the College will supply some materials to share among the group including:
  • Chemicals: copper sulphate, cooking salt, degreaser, washing-up liquid, soda crystals
  • Grounds: Lascaux acrylic resist hard ground, Lascaux acrylic resist soft ground, Lascaux acrylic resist stop out, Lascaux acrylic resist spray aquatint
  • Car spray cans (for backing the plates)
  • Inks, some scrim, tissue paper for drying prints and also for wiping plates

What students need to bring

  • Apron, favourite etching tool (if you have one), soft brushes (small-medium), textured materials for soft ground, plastic lids from milk bottles to use as containers for stop-out ground. Sketchbooks with ideas and inspiration for your etchings. Rags.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Cartridge paper (300gsm), several fine art printing papers, tissue paper, newsprint.
  • Tracing paper and grease free carbon paper
  • Scrim
  • Oil crayons
  • Sand paper grades 400/600/800/1000
  • Soft brushes (small-medium)
  • Sketchbook, notebook, pencils
  • Available from tutor:
  • Steel plates A5 (£2) A4 (£4)
You can find information on techniques in: Robert Adam and Carol Robertson‘s book, Intaglio, the complete safety-first system for creative printmaking, Thames & Hudson, 2007. Mark Graver’s book, Non-toxic printmaking. Michael Barratt’s book, Intaglio Printmaking.


Heike Roesel

Heike trained at Camberwell College and the University of Brighton and has since worked in several printmaking workshops, mainly teaching etching. From 2009 onwards Heike developed her own process of acrylic resist etching methods, which she has since been teaching from her studio in Brighton.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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