What is Encaustic Etching?


I was eager to get to work my first week in the AIR Studio. The “Suzie the Baby Yak” story is still being fleshed out, but I decided to jump right into experimenting with the materials to make some yak images from the photo references Seth and Morgan shared with me.

Here’s a picture of some of the work I did last week:


All of this work was done using a technique I call encaustic etching.

Encaustic is a painting medium that is made from beeswax and damar resin.image

You can mix pigment into the encaustic medium to make colored encaustic paint, or you can buy pre-made encaustic paints. I like R&F brand.Encaustic paint

It is solid at room temperature, so a heated pallette is used to melt the paint. GriddleOnce it is melted, I use a brush to paint it onto the support. Because the wax cools between the time that you dip the brush in the paint, the surface is not smooth. This is  a great way to build up a surface if you are looking for a built up surface. For etching, I want a smooth, lustrous surface, so I use a heat gun not only to fuse the wax to the surface, but also to melt it smooth. Here’s what the prepared surface looks like:


This surface is ready for etching. Here is a 29second video of the etching process:

This video shows the essential steps in the encaustic etching process:

  1. using the etching needle to etch the surface
  2. scraping the burs away
  3. inking
  4. wiping

Here’s one of me inking Malla:


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