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Etching: Line, Tone and Texture Summer School


This course is now full. You may contact us to discuss alternative courses or be added to the waiting list in case of cancellations.

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Location Leicester Print Workshop
Date & Time Tuesday 25th - Saturday 29th August
10.30am - 4.30pm
Tutor  Kathryn Desforges

Coronavirus Update: This course has been postponed from July 2020 and will be running with reduced numbers and new social distancing, hygiene and safety measures in place [as of 16th June].

"This has without a doubt been the best course I've ever done at LPW. I found Kathryn extremely knowledgeable, helpful and inspiring. Most importantly she facilitated all levels of participants to develop their own outcomes." July 2019

Join artist Kathryn Desforges for 5 days of hands-on printmaking! The beauty of these summer schools is that you can really immerse yourself in learning (or revisiting) a new technique, and have fun developing your skills and ideas through print, whether you have an existing art practice or are a total beginner.

The course will cover all the basics of etching, (an intaglio printing process), with a focus on creating images using hard ground to create line, and aquatint to create tone. We will be using copper sulphate solution, (a less toxic alternative to nitric acid), to etch zinc and steel plates, with traditional etching grounds and varnishes which require solvents for removal, (although we keep these to a minimum wherever possible). You will also be shown advanced plate-making techniques such as sugarlift and spit-bite, colour inking and printing techniques, with advice on paper preparation and registration.

You will be guided through each stage of the process with handouts, demonstrations and 1-1 support, and encouraged to develop ambitious work which explores individual subject matter. No one person will use etching in the same way,  and you will be encouraged to find a way of working with the technique which suits you.

You will come away from the course with a solid understanding of the etching process, 2-3 etching plates, a good number of proof prints and a small edition of a chosen plate.

Course Structure

Day 1: Exploring line with hard ground etching

Tutor and class introductions / introduction to etching with handouts and examples / work through making a hard-ground etching on zinc with demos, support and guidance / proof printing plates.

Day 2: Exploring tone with aquatint

Recap on day 1 / introduction to aquatint / work-through adding tone to plates made on day 1 with aquatint / experiment with spit-bite to create gradients / proof-printing plates, inking in colour and using colour rollovers.

Day 3: Thinking about multiple plates

Recap on day 2 / demonstration of printing a multi-plate, multi-colour image / students start planning a multi-plate print, thinking about colour separation with 1-1 advice from tutor.

Day 4: Self-guided

Students use techniques learned so far to continue making and proofing plates with guidance and support from tutor.

Day 5: Self-guided

Students finish making and proofing plates and produce a small edition, with guidance and support from tutor.  Short group show-and-tell at the end of session.

About the Tutor

Kathryn Desforges is a freelance artist and printmaker based in Leeds, and also works as part time Print Studio Coordinator at West Yorkshire Print Workshop. In 2013 she undertook the second Stone Lithography Fellowship at LPW – an inspirational year which enabled her to create a new body of work and led to a solo exhibition. After the fellowship, without access to the specialist equipment needed to continue with stone lithography, she decided to develop her work using alternative lithographic techniques, which utilised the equipment she already had. Kathryn is particularly interested in the qualities of plywood as a medium for making prints, and has recently returned from an artist residency in Japan learning watercolour woodblock printing or 'Mokuhanga'.

Leicester Print Workshop 

Leicester Print Workshop is the regional development centre for printmaking. Established by artists in 1986, we are a registered charity, supported by Arts Council England. Our RIBA award-winning building is situated in Leicester City Centre's Cultural Quarter and is home to a large, well equipped open access Printmaking Studio.

We have over 30 years’ experience of teaching people printmaking. Our programme offers the largest number and broadest range of printmaking courses in the region, with courses suitable for beginners as well as experienced printmakers, delivered by practicing artists and nationally renowned tutors. Participants learn in small and friendly groups in our purpose-designed studio.


Online: You can book online here by credit / debit card or Paypal.

Telephone: You can pay by card over the phone during our opening hours (Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm). Call us on 0116 251 4174.

In person: Call in to Leicester Print Workshop during our opening hours (Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm) to book and pay by card, cash or cheque.

Pre-course information: We will send you details of how to find us and what to bring with you when we process your booking. 


Full-Print Members of Leicester Print Workshop are entitled to a 10% discount on our inhouse courses. Interested in joining LPW as a member? Click here for more information.