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Bebb's Technique of Multi-Plate Soft-Ground and Aquatint Etching

Creating a Single Print from Multiple Inked Plates

Bebb's Printing Method

In this series of photos, Bebb shows how he made a single print: The Great Blue Heron. For every print Bebb made, he created a color key sheet, a guide for the edition that lists the colors for each plate, their placement, the order of plates for printing, and the full history of the edition. This print for instance, was originally created in October 1954, but Bebb produced numbered and signed prints between 1954-1980, when the edition was printed out (150 prints). 

Click through the slide show to understand the mastery of this expert printer and colorist. Bebb never colored his prints after the fact as many artists do-- instead he created color prints by using multiple plates and inking each with multiple colors, sometimes with nearly one dozen colors. It's a demanding method that he mastered. 


​Making the Plates
In this series of photographs, you can see Bebb creating the copper plates he needs for a new print. 

Click through the slide show to see how Bebb prepared his copper plates. 

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