I had one of those little ‘well of course’ moments today. I have been working on an intaglio plate with some very deeply etched areas. I decided that I would add some acrylic gel / carborundum grit to these in place of an aquatint to provide some texture as well as tone. I proofed the plate this morning and noticed that there were some areas where the gel had gotten on the unetched areas, causing a little unwanted shadowing, so I then had to figure the best way to remove it. First, I tried a triangular scraper. This worked but, as these were pretty tight spaces, it was touchy… lots of room for error. Then I tried a little solvent on a cotton swab, but this was like trying to tie your shoes while wearing mittens. Not so easy. I tried a couple of little pieces of wood to sort of scrape the stuff off after softening it with solvent, but again it was kind of clumsy.

I was sitting at my drawing table where I do this kind of work, thinking when I noticed a 2B charcoal pencil in the pencil tray. Since a charcoal block is sometimes used to polish a plate, I though, why not give it a try. I just sharpened it to a kind of chisel point and rubbed. Worked great!

Just another example of an unorthodox use of material.