Etching – an introduction with Sarah Mander

Ref: SWE33811

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About this course

Enjoy developing an etching from initial image idea to final print, incorporating techniques to achieve line and tonal etching. Explore printing in monochrome and colour.

Course Description

This course offers a comprehensive and enjoyable introduction to etching. On the first evening, you will begin by looking at examples of etching plates and prints produced using the techniques covered on the course. The tutor will also explain what you will be doing on the first day.

This course will be taught via group demonstration and individual tuition. The tutor will aim to create a relaxed and enjoyable environment and asks that participants come to the course with an open mind and are prepared to explore the techniques.

You will be introduced to methods of etching that will create your imagery, using both line etching and tonal etching techniques. You will etch aluminium plates using copper sulphate.

As a group, you will begin by discussing, selecting and adapting imagery for your etching. The tutor will demonstrate how to create a line etch and a range of tonal etched areas on your etching plate to build up your image. You will then spend the first day etching your plates.

Once your plates have been etched, the tutor will demonstrate inking and printing from an etching plate, exploring mixing and applying inks and printing in monochrome and in colour.

By the end of the course, you will have had an introduction to etching and will have explored a couple of etching techniques. You will have become familiar with the images that are most appropriate for etching and been able to adapt your images accordingly. You will have practised mixing and combining oil-based inks and become familiar with inking etching plates and printing them using etching presses. You will have tried a number of different inking and printing techniques, having printed your plates in monochrome and in colour. You will leave the course with a practical understanding of a couple of etching techniques and a suite of prints.

Course Materials


On this course, most of the materials will be supplied, including some Somerset 300gsm printing paper, inks, tracing paper, tissue paper, newsprint, carbon paper, etching plates, copper sulphate, stop out varnish, etching ground and other sundries.

What students need to bring

You will need to bring some kind of inspiration for your imagery. This will need to be an image with line elements and a range of tones. This can be either a drawing, photograph, postcard, etc. You might wish to bring along a selection of images from which you can choose. Please bring actual images, not on a mobile phone or tablet.
You will be working on etching plates that are A6 size (10cm x 15cm). It would be helpful if you are able to make your images A6 size and black and white prior to the course.
Please also bring:

  • Pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser
  • Masking tape
  • Craft knife with spare blades
  • Scissors
  • Drypoint tools, if you have them - one each will be provided
  • Additional printing paper as required – you will be printing on Somerset paper 
  • Cotton buds, for clearing ink out of tricky areas of the plate
  • Plastic wallet or folder, at least A4 size
  • White tissue paper to transport your prints home
  • An apron for printing

Available to buy

Available from shop:
A good variety of art materials are available to buy, including pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, masking tape, craft knife and blades, scissors, Somerset printing paper, plastic folders - at least A4 size, white tissue paper and aprons.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes). Possible equipment restrictions in tutor absence.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

General Information


Sarah Mander

Sarah is an established Artist /Printmaker based in Southampton. She co-founded Red Hot Press print workshop in 2004 where she was the Studio Director and taught a wide range of printmaking techniques, specialising in intaglio printmaking such as etching, collagraph, drypoint and carborundum printing. She studied for a Masters' Degree in Fine Art Printmaking at Wimbledon School of Art. Since then she has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and her work is held in private and public collections in Europe, China and Australia.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.