The burin is a direct engraving technique which takes its name from the instrument. The instrument consists of a small steel bar with an oblique form, generally quadrangular, inserted in a mushroom-shaped wooden handle.
The variety of lines that can be made with this technique depend not only on the different types of burins that can be used, but also on the amount of pressure with which the line is made and the angle at which the gesture is engraved. The end result of the burin once it is stamped is characterized by its clean and bold trace.
The drypoint is one of the most versatile engraving techniques, as it allows you to freely and directly draw on the plate.
Its name derives from the tool that is used: a steel stylus or a metal point inserted in a wooden handle. Such tools, used almost vertically from the plate, create an incision with a subtle lifting of the metal on its edges which during the printing process hold the ink, creating an effect of a deep black line with soft and velvety contours.
This engraving technique is achieved through the preparing of the copper plate with a rocker (or berceau) by granulating the metal in every direction, until the metal is entirely granulated, in a way that if it were stamped it would come out entirely black.
With the help of a burnisher and an agate stone, the metal is flattened to achieve the desired chiaroscuro, with a variety of greys and, the completely flattened parts, white. Since the granulated surface is not too deep, this technique only allows for small number of copies.
This technique is one of the many chalcographic techniques and it is preferably done on a copper or brass plate. The technique takes is name from the tool used, which consists of a pointed tool of steel with a tip of different dimensions.
The technique consists of achieving a chiaroscuro through the creation of points with the aid of a hammer.
The name of this technique derives from the mix of water and acid that was traditionally called “acquaforte”, meaning strong water.
The technique is done by covering the metal plate with a anti-acid varnish, such as bitume or the satinated varnish, and later on creating a design on the plate with any type of pointed instrument.
After covering the back and the edges of the plate with an adhesive plastic, the metal plate is submerged in the acid allowing the exposed part of the metal to be corroded by the acid, controlling the depth of the drawing with the intensity of the acid and the time it is left in the acid. The longer the plate is left in the acid, the deeper the line will be and therefore the darker it will come once it is stamped.
The aquatint is a chalcographic procedure that allows for the creation of backgrounds of different tonalities. This effect is achieved through a series of minuscule dots, which are made by placing a consistent layer of powder resin on the surface of the metal.
The metal is then heated on a fire, which allows the powder to remain to be later submerged in the acid. By controlling the time in the acid, a series of greys and blacks can be achieved.
The name derives from the subtle extract of antacid soft ground that is extended onto the heated up metal plate. The soft ground is similar to the protective varnish used in other techniques, however, it is softer, as it contains a minimal percentage of either tallow oil or lavender oil.
After carefully placing a sheet of tissue paper on top of the prepared plate, a drawing can be made directly on top of the plate, with a pencil or pastel. The intensity of the chiaroscuro will depend on the applied pressure. The tip of the material used to create the drawing will transfer the soft ground from the metal onto the paper.
Once the design is finished, the paper is softly lifted and the metal is submerged in the acid, which will corrode only the parts where the soft ground has been removed. The effect created resembles that of a pencil or pastel, or whichever material was used.
The term monotype refers to a stamping technique that consists of the creation of a completely unique stamp, in which the metal plate is prepared by the artist and reproduced onto the paper through the pressure of the chalcographic press.
The surface of the metal plate can be directly drawn and painted on with calligraphy ink, water or oil based colors, or even colored papers, pieces of metal, or any material preferred by the artist. With the lightly bathed piece of paper, a mirrored image of the work created on the plate will be achieved.
Another method to create a monotype is through a process of subtraction, used mostly on the 16th century, in which the color is rolled onto the surface and later on removed on the desired parts with a spatula, scraper, or any desired instrument.
The term derives from the greek works xylo, meaning wood, and graphia, meaning writing. This technique consists of creating cuts and incisions in a wooden plate.
Xylography originally emerged in China, where the first stamps were made stamped on paper in the VIII century AD. In Europe, the first xylographic stamps were created in the XIV century. Being that it is a relief print technique, in the 15th century it became the primary method to illustrate the first stamped books at the time, as the technique allowed the wooden matrix in the typographic forms which allowed for both text and image to be simultaneously stamped.
Depending on the type of wood used for the xylography, softer or harder, will also depend the engraving procedure. For a softer type of wood, gouges and knives are preferred, whereas for a harder wood, burins will be the most efficient. Once stamped, the differences of the effects are significant.
One of the characteristics of this technique that sets it apart from chalcography is the fact that, where the incision is made a white will be created, and where the wood is left untouched there will be a black. The chiaroscuro is achieved through a balance of white and black, but greys cannot be created.
Lithography is a planographic technique, created on a stone, which allows the creation of stamps with effects that resemble those of pastel, pencil and charcoal.
A lithography is achieved through the creation of a drawing created with fatty materials on a previously prepared and polished limestone, that tend to have a thickness between 5 and 10 cm.
The stone is prepared with granite and carborundum powder. It is granited with a hard stone, which is rotated over the surface of the stone after being sprinkled with the carborundum powder.
Serigraphy is a stampic technique that consists of using silk-screens with different types of silks depending on the type of drawing made, which contains several impermeable areas through which the ink does not cross over to the paper, and the color is only filtered through the empty areas. This process allows stamping on any desired material, from fabrics, to metal, to ceramics.
Collagraph is a non-engraving technique, which consists of the use of several materials glued on top and alongside each other, in order to obtain a matrix that can be inked and later on stamped.
The procedure is not complicated, however, with it, surprising and suggestive effects can be achieved.
The classes offered by the Armadillo Atelier are available from September to June. The courses will allow for the approaching and/or perfectioning of the engraving techniques. The themes of the courses will vary in order to allow the students to learn all the secrets of the techniques described in this page.
Our classes are offered in 4 monthly packages, illustrated below. Each package must be used for a maximum of one month, deciding the timetable for the lessons in agreement with the teacher.
Each lesson has a duration of 3 hours per day from 10:00 AM to 13:00 PM or 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM. The morning classes are activated with a minimum of 5 students, while the afternoon classes don’t have a minimum limit. Each package can be renewed from time to time.
For information and registration fill and send the form on the contact page, or call 055 0461654 or write an email to
The only requirement to become part of the Armadillo Atelier is to create the card to access all the courses, which only costs 10 € and has annual validity.
Questo corso ti permetterà di imparare i segreti con i quali creare un biglietto artigianale per gli auguri.
Una piccola stampa, interamente realizzata a mano, diventerà un dono da conservare o incorniciare.
La tecnica non richiede grande esperienza ma ti sarà utile per la tua produzione di cartoline personalizzate.
Carte, colori, sgorbie e pennini ti aspettano, non perdere tempo!
Mostra sul libro d'artista di Elizabeth Burton
"Pagine d'Arte. Racconti per immagini"
Dal 29 novembre al 31 dicembre 2018
A conclusione la mostra "Pagine d'Arte. Racconti per immagini" dal 29 novembre al 5 gennaio 2019 di Elizabeth Burton. Pittrice e illustratrice australiana, ha sviluppato una pratica artistica originale che trae ispirazione dalla botanica e gli ambienti naturali della sua terra. La sua personale tecnica mista, ad acquerello e olio, è stata sperimentata e insegnata in laboratori artistici di diverse città australiane. La padronanza del disegno e il potere della semplicità della linea sono alla base del suo approccio multidisciplinare e multimediale. In mostra le sue opere e libri d'artista.
Il laboratorio sul libro d’artista “Crea-Azione” dal 30 novembre al 2 dicembre e dal 14 al 16 dicembre 2018 condurrà alla progettazione e realizzazione del proprio libro d’artista attraverso l’uso di varie tecniche come ad esempio acquerello e collage, l’assemblaggio del libro e alla costruzione del contenitore per il libro.