About Mezzotints

Mezzotint is a form of engraving, whose subtle qualities are achieved with tone rather than line. The artist spends many hours “rocking” a copper plate until the plate has thousands of tiny holes, each with a bit of raised burr that hold a tremendous amount of ink. A fully rocked plate prints a lush, velvety black, unparalleled in any other medium. To obtain an image, the artist scrapes the surface of the plate, variously lowering the levels of the burrs so they will hold less ink and thereby yield gradations of dark and light. Gradually an image emerges out of the darkness. The plate is inked by hand and printed on an etching press.