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Article: [I tried printing] The charm of Hahnemuhle German Etching

【印刷してみた】Hahnemuhle German Etchingの魅力 - PHOTOPRI【写真展・美術展品質のプリントサービス】

[I tried printing] The charm of Hahnemuhle German Etching


Germany is an artistic powerhouse.

You cannot talk about European art without mentioning Hahnemuhle Fine Art, which has a history of over 400 years.

Many works of art that still exist after all these years, such as Renaissance paintings, Shakespeare's works, and Gudenburg's Bible, are made using cotton-based paper .

Additionally, with the changing times, paper is now made not only from cotton but also from a material called ``alpha cellulose,'' which supports many artists.

It is only because of the evolution of the times that historic paper made from cotton and alpha cellulose can be used in the fields of photography and illustration.

The popular Hahnemühle series ranks among the top recommended papers for "PHOTOPRI".

There are many types of paper in the Hahnemühle series, but "PHOTOPRI" has carefully selected 6 types .

Well, in this article, we will focus on German Etching.

“I have never printed on matte paper.”

“What are the characteristics of German Etching?”

“What kind of photos and illustrations are suitable for?”

I am writing this for those who have such concerns and concerns.

<Handling paper>

[Hahnemuhle] The choice of German Etching

German Etching (hereinafter referred to as German Etching) is a paper that has been decided to be adopted from 2023.

This paper feels like a digital printing version of print paper , and the texture of the paper is quite similar.

When I once gave a business card made using German etching to a copperplate print artist, he really liked it, and that sparked a conversation...

For this reason, the paper was approved by a copperplate print artist.

Each element of German etching, such as thickness, stiffness, texture, and color expression, is different from other papers, and I think it will be a strong ally for photographers and illustrators.

I am impressed by the "stiffness" of the paper when I pick it up.

I would like to take a look at some of the features and precautions when using German etching.

Good balance between firmness and thickness

A major feature of German etching is its firmness .

The stiffness is similar to the elasticity of the paper itself, and there are many papers sold in Japan that use their stiffness as their strength.


Paper is usually smooth and may bend easily depending on the paper, but paper that is stiffer is less likely to bend.

Another feature is that it is thick .

Among the papers available at PHOTOPRI, German etching is one of the thickest papers.

The advantage of being thick is that it is easier to manipulate .

If the paper is thin, it may be bent or scratched when putting it in a frame, but it's nice to be able to alleviate these concerns even just a little.

German etching has a good balance of stiffness and thickness, and is gradually becoming popular among fine art papers.

Surface texture that feels like a tree

"Surface quality" varies greatly depending on the paper.


This ``surface quality'' is the key to producing paper with a good texture, and is also important in determining the quality of the paper.

Speaking of paper with a nice texture, there is Torchon, also made by Hahnemühle.

Torsion is a high-quality paper that has a texture similar to watercolor paper, has a wide color gamut, and produces gentle color expressions.


(The image above has been edited to make it easier to see the unevenness of the surface.)

The German etching (on the left side of the image) has many delicate streaks similar to the surface of a tree .

The torsion (on the right side of the image) has a soft wave-like surface.

This surface quality of German etching also works exquisitely on printed matter.

We will discuss later what kind of taste it is suitable for.

Precautions ① Be careful when rolling

When handling German etching, please be careful when rolling it into a stick.

We ourselves are always careful about this, but if you try to roll a piece of paper smaller than A3 size into a tube shape, it may bend.

When storing it, we recommend rolling it as thickly as possible or storing it flat instead of rolling it .

Points to note ② Is it unsuitable for paneling?

Please be careful when pasting works printed using German etching onto wooden panels.

These are the reasons for this.

  • The four sides of the work become fluffy.
  • The paper is hygroscopic and may wrinkle or warp after being pasted.

With wooden panels, the process involves flipping the panel over after it is pasted and cutting the four sides, so you will not get a clean finish unless you cut very carefully.

One possible reason for this is because the paper is made of alpha cellulose .

Regarding wrinkles and warping, this is also a possibility, but

This is thought to be caused by the paper's high hygroscopicity .

(As for the hygroscopicity of German etching, we feel that way based on our experience of touching paper on a regular basis, so please take this with a grain of salt.LOL)

Achieves bright color expression

Many Hahnemühle papers have excellent color expression.

In particular, the PhotoRag series has rich tones, and both glossy paper and fine art paper are very popular.


The color expression of German etching is a little brighter than, for example, photo rag.

It depends on the data you submitted, so I can't make a general statement, but sometimes a color that looks high in the data may end up with a slightly brighter tone when printed.

You may need to be careful if you want the colors to look sharp when viewed on a display.

When printing on matte paper, the colors usually fade, so in that sense, German etching may be rare in that it produces bright tones.

What kind of photos/illustrations are suitable?

Monochrome photographs, oil painting style, and copperplate engraving style illustrations

When it comes to German etching printing, most people order illustrations .

There are many popular papers that are more easily adopted than German etching for photo printing, so I feel that many people are considering other papers.

In such a situation, I would have to say...but I think that printing black and white photos will give you a satisfactory result.

In particular, I think silver-toned photos can be both cool and soft.

For monochrome photos, there are many black, tight papers such as PhotoRagBaryta and Profoto thick silk, so there is a lot of competition.

Regarding suitability for illustrations, it is recommended for highly concentrated works such as oil paintings .

However, I feel that the surface quality of German etching may actually get in the way of works with a softer style or character/anime style.

I would definitely recommend trying this out for works that use highly concentrated colors.

Also, as I mentioned at the beginning, I think it is very suitable for printing works that have a copperplate print style .

If you want to express the clear dots and lines that are unique to copperplate printing, I think that combined with the texture of German etching, it will definitely become a professional work.

I think German etching is one of the candidates for those who want to make the ``flower'' of their work jump out at the viewer's eyes, so please give it a try!


・German etching uses paper made of "100% alpha cellulose" instead of "cotton" .

・German etching is a part of the ``Matte Fine Art'' in Hahnemuehle's paper series.

・As mentioned above about German etching, some of you might be wondering, "What exactly is fine art paper?", so I would like to add an explanation about "fine art paper." Please forgive me if my expressions may be a little harsh. lol

What is fine art paper?

Fine art paper is one type of paper whose ``quality as paper'' has dramatically improved due to improvements in inkjet printing technology.

As it became possible to reproduce high-definition, high-quality digital images equivalent to conventional silver halide photography, the possibility of this technology was immediately considered in the photography and art industries.

A major feature of fine art paper is that it has both ``preservability'' and ``texture.''

Raw materials include cotton, wood, and bamboo, but PHOTOPRI uses cotton-based fine art paper.

Cotton-based fine art paper is made of lignin (a component that makes up 20-30% of wood. Paper derived from wood naturally contains lignin, so it deteriorates over time. By the way, books change color because of lignin. (Due to a chemical reaction between ultraviolet rays and lignin), it can be stored for a long time.

There are many fine art paper suppliers, such as Hahnemuhle (Germany), PICTORICO (Japan), and Canson (France), and there is a wide variety of paper types.

In terms of future possibilities, the fine art paper that has evolved in Europe is expected to further evolve, and at the same time, new fine art papers may be born from Asia.

It is believed that fine art paper will penetrate not only those in the art industry but also individual creators. Along with this, it is highly likely that the types of paper itself will increase and become more segmented.

<Handling paper>

[Hahnemuhle] Would you like to try printing German Etching?

Just like you take a test drive when you buy a car, we want you to use the trial print service and experience the paper for yourself before printing.

You can't really understand the texture, feel, color reproduction, etc. of a wide variety of papers, such as glossy paper, matte paper, fine art paper, and Japanese paper, until you actually hold the printed material in your hands.

Even if you try to choose the best one from a large number of papers, it may be difficult. There are many people who don't know which one to choose.

You can print a trial print using your own photo data .

We have a trial set according to your preference, so please take advantage of it!


Free trial print

PHOTOPRI, a large-format print service with photo exhibition quality, supports prints up to B0 size, and our professional staff, including myself, use skilled color matching to create high-definition and beautiful photographs, illustrations, and paintings. .

The A1 size is about 3,800 yen, which is reasonable despite the quality, so please consider it!

We also offer free trial printing for A5 size prints, so please check the quality first!

Go to trial print
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