Applying the resist:
The objective is to produce an even, thin coating on the plate. Work on a clean workboard in an area with good light. The plate should be prepared, backed, dry and cold. Position the plate on a sponge (or sponges) so that it is raised up from the surface of the workboard. Shake the container well to distribute the waxy content. Squeeze a small amount of resist into a clean china or glass palette. The type of brush used is important as a coarse brush will lay down a ridged layer or a layer with gaps. A synthetic brush such as a 2’’ (5 cm) Prolene brush made by ProArte is ideal and should be kept for applying resists. Before painting on the plate paint a brush stroke onto a clean sheet of paper to check that the brush is clean. This resist is designed to be quick drying so the painting process should only take a few minutes. Apply the resist thinly to the plate in methodical strokes, allowing these to extend off the plate surface to avoid unwanted pools of resist forming at the edges of the plate. Small plates can be rotated through 90° and, without reloading the brush with resist, the entire plate surface brushed again. Wipe any excess resist from the brush on the side of the palette. To become confident at applying and using the resist, experiment on small testplates with different application brushes and drawing tools.
Drying the resist:
The plate can be laid flat to dry naturally or dried with a warm air fan in a horizontal drying cabinet. The resist becomes touch dry quickly and when it is fully dry it is ready to colour, draw into or etch.
Colouring the resist:
The surface of the dry resist may be coloured by applying water-soluble Lascaux Dark coating or Lascaux White coating (see data sheet for full information). The coloured surfaces can be drawn on with a pencil or tracing paper can be used if a guide drawing is required.
Drawings can be creating in the clear or coloured layer using etching tools such as needles, roulettes, scrapers and steel wool. The resist has a soft, waxy feel, allowing the needle to glide, and resulting in a smooth clean line. The particles of resist which are dislodged by the drawing action will not smudge and can easily be brushed away. The exposed metal will be clearly visible as a bright line if the resist has been coloured.
Removing the colouring and editing the image:
The colouring should be washed away with water when the drawing is complete: the Lascaux Hard resist and its drawing will remain on the plate. Any corrections can then be made with Lascaux Stop-out resist which will bond securely to the Hard resist.
Broader open (exposed metal) marks can be created by painting Mystrol onto the dry layer of clear resist. After 10 minutes, a soft tissue is used to lift away the Remover without spreading it. A paint brush can then be used to carefully break up and then remove the weakened resist from the plate. The metal will now be exposed in the areas where the mark was painted. The plate should be rinsed with CPS degreaser and then water before applying an aquatint or other resists.
The plate can be etched in a variety of mordants such as solutions of ferric chloride (for copper and brass) or copper sulphate mixtures (for steel, zinc and aluminium). Correct facilities and safety precautions should be used when etching. Plates should initially be flash bitten (etched for a few minutes) to reveal the areas of metal which are etching. Areas which should be etching but still look shiny and bright may need to be re-drawn or may be contaminated with a greasy fingerprint and will need to be degreased with household dishwashing liquid. If flash biting does not reveal any problems normal biting can commence. However if any other resists are to be applied or more lines are to be drawn in the resist, the plate should first be rinsed, de-oxidized with a solution of salt and household vinegar, rinsed and dried. When the drawing is repaired, flash biting is again used to check that all is well before normal etching commences. Deep bites can be made confidently as even the thinnest layer of resist is highly acid-resistant, making it extremely reliable. Foul biting is unlikely to occur. After etching, plates should be rinsed and de-oxidised before removing the resist prior to proofing.
The resist is water-soluble and can be cleaned from brushes, tools, palettes, plates and surfaces with warm soapy water before it dries. Dried resist can be removed by immersing the plate in a tray or tank of Remover for ten minutes. The plate is removed from the tray and the weakened resist is immediately rubbed from the plate surface (the solution should not be allowed to dry) with a brush or non-scratch knitted type plastic cleaning pad pad (gloves should be worn). The plate is then rinsed in warm water and examined for any remaining resist. The process may be repeated until the plate is clean. If other resists are to be applied the plate should be degreased. Dried resist on palettes can be removed by peeling or soaking in hot water. Brushes with deposits of dry resist can be soaked in Remover, washed in soap and then thoroughly rinsed.