Materials & Techniques

Mezzotint (printmaking)

Mezzotints were developed in the 17th century as a means to produce a full tonal scale from black to white. Rather than making individual marks on a plate, the artist first covers the matrix with consistent texture using a rocker, a wide flat tool with a curved end covered with tiny spikes. If inked and printed at this intermediary stage, the textured plate would produce a solid dark image. To create a design, the artist smooths areas of the plate intended to print in lighter tones.

Excerpt from

Emily Schiller, Visions of America exhibition gallery text, 2016.