I usually start with a photograph. I make a few drawings from the photos to familiarize myself with the subject and then I do many arrangements of scanned drawings in photoshop, either staying true to the drawing with the emphasis on modeling or outline.
I settled on two types of rendering in this print. A painterly aquatint for the banana plant that roughly followed a drawing and an outline for the figure with guitar that I traced from another drawing. I'm not really interested in photorealism here. In doing a few drawings, I'm more interested in the feeling and message carried by the way an image is made. I am able to distill the necessary details through drawing and I use photoshop to make quick arrangements.
This is a two-plate hard ground and aquatint etching. One plate for the figure and one for the banana plant. Banana is printed in bluegreen Akua ink with 5-1 trans base. Figure is printed using carbon black Akua ink with a 5 - 1 trans base as well. I used cold-rolled 20 gauge steel sanded down with a final 1500grit paper. You get a massive amount of plate tone even with 1500grit. This is something I don't want, considering there's a lot of negative space that I want clean, so I added 5 parts trans base to one part ink.
etchant - 1 part copper sulfate to 1 part NaCl
hard ground - 1 part Graphic Chemical asphaltum to 1 part naptha
aquatint - hand dusted and crushed rosin through some leggings and melted on a hot plate.