Branching Commercial Airbrush Techniques with the Traditional Aquatinting Methods of Intaglio Printmaking

Marcus Gilbert

McNair Scholars Program Summer Research Paper

Kansas State University 

July 27th, 2016


“Aquatinting” is the traditional technique of creating continuous and graduated tonal variations on a degreased copper plate when creating artwork through Intaglio printmaking. The use of toxic materials such as rosin powder, aerosol spray paint, and different petroleum based solvents are common materials of traditional aquatinting. Under the mentorship of professor Jason Scuilla, I have successfully replaced most of these toxic materials by implementing safer non-toxic methods into the printmaking shops at Kansas State University. This required the use of the commercialized airbrush gun in conjunction with a non-toxic etchant resistant. To achieve this goal, I have combined the research carried out by other non-toxic printmaking advocates with my prior professional commercial airbrushing skills. By researching, testing, and utilizing alternative materials, my research has proven that it is possible to create superior aquatinting results with less toxic alternatives that are safe for both the artist and our environment.

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