The idea is to etch the image into the copper plate, by submerging it in Ferric Chloride (for at least 30 minutes), and then making fine art etching prints from the etched copper plate. This is not unlike making a circuit board.
Note: that after the high resolution drawing (181) was downloaded, it was "flipped" horizontally with XnView (or any other digital program), before being sent to the laser cutter. That is because when the plate is etched and inked, it will print a reverse image on paper.
By flipping it first digitally, we will be able to print the image in the same orientation as it is in my book. If we were etching and printing words, they would come out backwards in the final print, if we did not "flip" them horizontally first.
The proof print is somewhat unexpected. I did not take off the spray paint ground before printing, which probably accounts for the grey plate tone. The spray painted surface has a matte texture, that did not wipe off well with the tarlatan wiping rag.
The actual lines of the figure however, were much lighter than I anticipated. Perhaps the lines are too thick, and therefore did not hold the ink tightly, when the plate was wiped with the tarlatan rag.
The first proof print
Later we took the black spray paint off the copper plate (easily, with EZ Strip), and Manuel Guerra made a proper proof on good paper, at his studio in El Paso. The 8 inch plate fit nicely and printed well, on the small Conrad press.
Next time Adric suggested that we use vinegar as the electrolyte.
UPDATE (Nov 3, 2018): I tried to laser etch a more complicated drawing from my book (drawing 150), attempting the same method as above, however it did not come out as nice. We altered the image in XnView -- image/Convert to Binary/Binary(Pattern) -- to simplify it, but the background etched, and the weaker gray lines got darker, blurring out all the detail in the neck, for instance.
I epic failed trying to make a soft ground etching from a figure drawing, like I did last December (2017). I prepared the copper plate with B.I.G. grounds the night before at Remarque/New Grounds Print Workshop in Albuquerque. Then I drew the figure on the wet plate the next day at Argos in Santa Fe. However, the palm of my hand rubbed against the newsprint, and that probably injured the plate drawing. I should have drawn using a bridge, or a mahl stick, to lift my hand off the plate.
the soft ground plate
after 45 minutes of drawing
Note: The next day I tried to roll the brayer over the plate, so that I could try the soft ground process again. However, the BIG ground was already too dry to spread out the grounds. Perhaps if I brayer over my bad plate immediately, I could have tried again. As it is, I didn't sacrifice the copper plate -- I just have to take the dried old ground off, and reapply a soft ground.