In between doing the MOSI freelance behemoth, I've been converting the Future Faerie Tales of Florida ink drawings into the etchings they were originally intended. Second on deck is The Frigatebird beckoned Asu and the Prince to follow her. (The matted ink drawing is at the top.) The 5"x7" copper plate is in the process of being scribed; you can see the copper lines revealed through the dark hard ground resist. I draw those with a steel stylus, with about the same pressure as I normally pencil a drawing, but it is harder to create a variable line; I have to go back and forth to shape it the way I want; styli just give you a very light line otherwise.
Next to it is a pencil drawing on tracing vellum (with blue ball point pen ink on one side); originally it was used to transfer the pencil sketch for the ink drawing and now doing double-duty as the flipped trace for the etching plate. (Note that I have to work backwards for etching; the lettering on the plate has to be inscribed in mirror image to print correctly.)
Below is the somewhat botched-up etching for Owl-Winged Dawn finds the Sturgeon Lord from when I managed to under-etch the plate back in January. (That was a Very Bad Day, after ruining twenty hours of work...)
As I'd mentioned before, the solution was too weak and most of the lines were too shallow or didn't etch at all after almost twenty minutes in the tank; fifteen to eighteen minutes is normal for me with ferric chloride. So, after punting in order to meet a jury deadline by drawing my four concepts in crow quill pen and ink, I then re-scribed this same entire plate a month later. Not my favorite way to deal with it, and woman's face is, frankly, terrible. Normally, I'd rather start from scratch all over again and there are a lot of nasty overbite marks on the plate I'm having trouble burnishing out, especially in the upper right of the print from the original bad etch. But, meh; I'm chalking it up to One of Those Things In Art as in Life and I'm moving on the next three. Plus working on more Future Faerie Tale drawings, coming soon.
Addenda: June is the first month since my hand surgery where I no longer notice my hands while I work. They're still a bit stiff at night and I continue to do stretching, but right about the second week of June I realized I'd been drawing MOSI stuff for four straight hours and never noticed my hands once. Big milestone; so glad it's all done.