In drypoint and carborundum printmaking, the areas in the plate which are to hold ink are covered with a mixture of carborundum – a gritty sand-like substance – and glue. When dry that area retains ink and gives a rich velvety surface which can be drawn into or disturbed. The artist can also draw directly into the plate using a sharp pointed steel tool which leaves a mark but also pushes up a furrow, similar to ploughing. When the plate is inked and wiped, both the inscribed mark and the furrow hold the ink, printing as a thick, soft line.
Carborundum is a technique where a mix of acrylic binders and carborundum grit are painted on to the surface of a plate and then inked as a intaglio plate. Its raised texture typically gives a deep tone, rich colour and strong emboss into the paper. It is a extremely versatile and very painterly, creating a rich printed imagery. I believe it is the closest a printmaker can get to painting and offers great scope for sculptural and graphic treatments. The grit is available in several grades – fine, medium and coarse – each giving different effects.
Drypoint is an intaglio technique where the image is drawn directly into the plate using a sharp drypoint tool. The resuilting incised line has ridges of metal either side giving the characteristic rich blurred line.