Mezzotint: working on the image

After working the plate this past week, I inked and printed a test print. The ink was applied with a roller and worked into the plate texture with a clean piece of tarlatan, which is a stiff, open-weave cotton fabric used in printmaking.

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For the print, the image I’m using is from a trip to Kyoto I took years ago. I worked out a sketch and then reversed the hand-drawn image on the computer to use as a reference while working the plate. I then drew the image on to the plate using the reversed reference.  The thing to remember in printmaking is whatever is created on the plate will print in reverse. I wanted to keep the composition the same as in the drawing so I went through the effort to reverse it for the plate.

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The tools I will be using for creating the image on the copper plate are a scraper and a burnisher.

march2014 041  The scraper will scrape the burrs from the surface plate to bring out the grey tones. The burnisher will flatten the burrs and polish the copper plate and create areas of white. You can see from the photo that the tools are tapered at the end, enabling one to work small areas and bring out details.

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