Living in the tropics changed my printmaking habits due to the very humid climate for 6 months of the year.
I first moved to Townsville, Queensland 10 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria and discovered that there were no hotplates in Townsville studios. It took me a little while to adjust to printing without a hotplate and have managed for the past 10 years but recently when printing an edition I was not getting the results that I knew were possible when printing with a hotplate.
In general, ink at room temperature, if wiped when fresh and not left to dry out, will produce good prints, particularly from plates that are etched and not worn, especially aquatints. However plates that need very rich and full printing can be warmed to bring out the best qualities of the ink, a hotplate is an absolute must in the printmaking studio.
The following three problems may occur when using a hotplate.
- Be careful not to overheat your plates, it may bake the ink into the finer lines, causing them to print faintly.
- To prevent the etching plate from buckling place the plate on the hotplate when they are both cool and bring the heat up so the warm at the same time.
- Printing the plate when it is too warm can dry the paper somewhat and create spotty effects. The heat dries the paper quickly and will pose a problem when printing multi colour plate etchings.