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Author Catherine Brooks is a master printer at Crown Point Press, printers and publishers of etchings since 1962, and she draws on the venerable history of that institution to create an inspirational and highly usable how-to book. Crown Point Press founder, Kathan Brown, adds an appendix on hand-wiping and printing that teaches you to ink and print etchings with Crown Point’s superlative quality. The practical information is artist-centered, with illustrations and discussions of line etchings and engravings enhanced by quotations from the artists who made them. Included with the book is a DVD with Catherine Brooks and Kathan Brown demonstrating the step-by-step techniques. Published by Crown Point Press, 2007. Color and black & white illustrations, 207 pages. Instructional DVD included.

“This book gives readily accessible information on all forms of intaglio line, from drypoint and engraving to wax-based hard and soft grounds. Health and safety is addressed where necessary. Wonderfully illustrated with step-by-step photographs of the processes, the book includes works by more than 20 artists including Chuck Close, Anish Kapoor and Judy Pfaff. The accompanying DVD provides another route of access, ideal for those who may be intimidated by the written word. Kathan Brown’s appendix on printing is well laid-out with diagrams and photographs. Interestingly it does not follow the ways of printing often found in the US but describes the Crown Point Press way that she learned while studying at London’s Central School of Art. It is extremely refreshing to see such clear explanation of traditional methods.” -Alan Smith, Etching Instructor- Royal College of Art, London, Printmaking Today, 2008

“Line” is one of the seven “Elements of Art,” ingrained into students vocabulary in art classes across the globe. (I taught art in Ghana, and the students had these terms memorized like the days of the week.) Catherine Brooks’ book on Line Etching & Engraving lays down the foundation of intaglio printmaking and gives step-by-step instructions on how to use the specific tools and accomplish the techniques. Asphaltum. Acid. Hotplate. Scraper. Burnisher. Copper Plate. Drypoint Needle. These all sound like archaic tools used in the middle ages, and in fact, intaglio printmaking is a centuries old process. However, this book shows how contemporary artists like Julie Mehretu, Anish Kapoor, and Richard Tuttle, made prints in the Crown Point Press studio that are distinctly modern and cool. There are excellent photographs of the artists working on plates and beautiful reproductions of their prints. The step-by-step instructions are written in a clear voice and the reader can follow the photos that illustrate the technical process. I would recommend this book to a printmaking student, print-shop professional, or someone who is interested in prints and wants to expand their knowledge of printmaking. There are also fantastic and sometimes humorous quotes from the artists dotted throughout the book. I like this one by Tom Marioni, “I am fascinated by art that can only be seen if you know it is art. If something that’s not painting or sculpture seems interesting and is in an art context, it might be a work of invisible art.” In short, this book will improve your printmaking skills immensely, it could inspire you to do something creative, or as an art collector, you might even find a new love of prints. The dvd is absolutely worthwhile–it brings the whole thing together, especially for a visual learner. I wish I had this book when I was a printmaking student in art school! Reviewed by Dana Zullo; October 2, 2008.

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