I found this brilliant video introduction to Intaglio printmaking on Youtube:

Very well-edited and informative video clip.

Mezzotint is one of Intaglio printmaking techniques. Strictly speaking, it is a drypoint, as the image on the plate is formed by roughening the surface of the plate and then smoothing some areas, as opposed to incising the metal in engraving, or biting with acid in etching.

I seem to be managing with less proofs now than I used to.

Some prints took around 20 or more stage proofs before the final image. Especially the larger portrait mezzotints, like “Girl by the Window”, “Mother and Child” and “Alina’s Faces”. The smaller and less detailed mezzotints were finished with 4-7 proofs.

I put together a couple of video clips made of a succession of stage proofs. Here is the “Alina’s Faces” – 1:

Experience helps. Now I can judge better the depth of the burnishing by the look of the plate. Important to get the right light on the plate. It has to be diffused yet strong enough.

There were many frustrating moments while I was trying out a variety of rocking methods.

I gave up rocking the plates myself very early on. The process of working on the image itself is time consuming hard and slow enough without wanting to devote another double that time and effort to preparing the plate.

Before I found my present supplier of pre-rocked plates, I tried machine-rocked plates made in Japan. These were no good – very shallow rocking.

Although it was much easier to work on the plate and achieve fine detail without too much effort, the burr was too shallow to hold enough ink. Even light wiping of the plate would lift the ink up and leave bold grey patches on the bakground.

Mezzotint print. "Claire". Marina Kim Mezzotints.

"Claire"

The “Claire” was made on such a plate. The inferriority of the plate made the wiping process extremely fiddly. I manage to print around 60 impressions including author’s proofs and a few rejects simply because I like the image too much to give up sooner.

Mezzotint print by Marina kim "Alina's Rose"

Mezzotint “Alina’s Rose”

Alina is my younger daughter. At the time I made this mezzotint she was almost three.

I was looking for an image for a mezzotint on a very long and narrow plate – 40×12.5 cm. My intention was to have a flower on it, but I wanted it to be held, so that the hands would be in the picture and the flower and hands would in a way be competing for the attention of the viewer.

So, I asked Alina to model for me with a rose. And put on a white dress with intricate piping detail. She wasn’t too happy about it. Being heavily under the influence of her almost 5 year-old sister, she was very aware that dresses weren’t cool. But I loved the resulting image with the garden rose near the end of its life and about to loose its petals, and the soft baby-hands holding it. The fabric of the dress creating the background for the image was an interesting detail to work on, and quite a challenge too.