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In this detail of Dissolution, you can see a slight dot pattern caused by the mezzotint rocker.   The more pressure the rocker has on the plate, the deeper the grooves and burrs, and the harder it is to scrape those burrs back down to the original smooth surface (hence why you can still see “tone” in the whiter areas).


Mezzotint is also considered to be intaglio, more specifically drypoint.   Drypoint means that no chemicals are used during the process, only sharp tools that pick up tiny specks of copper, called burrs, which hold ink.   Mezzotint is one of the best ways to achieve various tones in printmaking.   A tool called a rocker is used to roughen up the plate surface with its many “teeth”, picking up thousands of burrs, which when strategically scraped or burnished down with specific tools, can create beautiful ranges of tones when printed.   Mezzotints are known to create “velvety” rich blacks that are hard to achieve in other forms of printmaking.