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Mezzotint Explained by Louise Bird.

Mezzotint is an intaglio method of printmaking for creating an original work of art on a sheet of copper, which has been roughened with thousands of tiny dots to create a layer of tone. It was invented in the 1600’s as the first printing method to create an image from these tonal areas of dots rather than the typical dry points of the time, which were created using line and hatching.

These dots are created using a special serrated tool with small teeth called a mezzotint rocker, either manually or mechanically. Printing at this stage would produce a solid black image. To create the print I use a scraper / burnisher tool to polish or scrape away the dots to reveal the image; any dots left on the plate will hold the ink which forms the final design. The plate is then covered in ink, and by a careful process of wiping, is ready for printing through my press. I then hand tint the image using inks.

Illustrations for Dave Goulson's book 'A Buzz in the Meadow' for which Louise was commissioned.

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