One of the problems with the hard ground at Remarque is that it is clear, and difficult to see your lines in the copper plate, before etching the copper plate. This makes it difficult to draw the figure.
Therefore I coated one of the copper plates with Molotow Masterpiece 767P markers (which are alcohol based), using the black ink as as the ground. When I scratched into the black ink, with a stylus or even a flexible dip pen nib, I could see the copper below. That way I could see the copper colored lines as I was drawing.
I got the idea to use Molotow, because others were using alcohol based Sharpie markers as a ground/resist.
coated with Molotow Masterpiece marker,
and scratched into with a stylus and dip pen nib
Pam printing my novel etching plate,
inked without taking the Molotow "ground" off
The proof had a bluish plate tone
as some of the Molotow marker came off
The etched plate (30 minutes),
before taking the Molotow "ground" off
Later I re-etched the plate. I took off the Molotow "ground" with alcohol, cleaned and degreased the copper plate, and applied the see-thru ground on it, provided by Remarque. Then I drew on the plate again, and etched it for only 15 minutes, in Ferric Chloride.
The original lines double etched (while they should not have), and became much darker in the proof print. Also the newly drawn lines were dark, much darker than I anticipated.
where the original lines were double etched,
and the additional lines came out dark
Ultimately the Molotow "ground" was not too bad. I could see the lines on the copper plate as I was drawing them, which is a huge plus. The Molotow ground was a bit brittle. My lines were pretty uniform, and not as fine and sensitive as I would have liked. This could be due to the Molotow "ground," or just due to the styli that I was using.
Pam then suggested we try "BIG" etching ground, a new product carried by Takach Press in Albuquerque.
BIG etching ground
One applies the ground with a brayer,
and then heats the ground to cure it
2 beautifully dark copper plates with BIG ground,
ready to draw onto
Now I have my homework assignment, which is to draw onto the BIG ground plates during a drawing session, and see if they will make a good etching.