When making a sugar lift aquatint or lift ground aquatint, the motif is painted on a blank plate with a sugar solution.
Then, the whole plate is covered with a thin layer of etching ground. When the ground is dry and the plate is submerged in a warm water bath. The sugar dissolves and lifts the ground away from the plate, exposing the copper below. The plate is then covered with an aquatint and submerged into an acid bath. Where the sugar lift has exposed the copper, the acid will etch the aquatint to an even depth. Then the plate is filled with ink and the surface wiped clean before it is run through the press.
In the print the sugar lift will give crisp, flat, positive marks of brush strokes.