Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Birth of a Mezzotint Bookplate

I love to receive unexpected submissions from readers like this one from Guillermo Moran

If you want to contact Guillermo about bookplate exchanges here is his email address


If you want to submit an article for publication in 2016 here is my email address 

Dear Lew,

Here are the pics with their short explanations. Hope you find it interesting. Maybe the text will need some editing: as always, it is up to you.


Here is the original sketch, drawn with white pencil on black paper, as I find that this way of  drawing is the closest to the mezzotint technique, where the areas affected will hold no ink and therefore, be white on the print.

Next step consists of cutting a copper plate to the desired size. Then it is to be grounded with the rocker': The rocker has small teeth that, when rocking the plate, will teve tiny dots and their burrs on its surface. A lot of passes, in different directions will leave an even and complete coverage  of dots and burrs that will hold the ink. Before being affected by any other tools, the plate should print an intense black surface.
With a scarper and a burnisher, the plate is to be affected where it has to print white. Here is the plate compared to the sketch. On the left there is a composite tool: pointing down it is a scarper, pointing up it is a burnisher.
The lettering has been added
The plate has been inked and wiped: the affected areas do not retain the ink.
Then, a slightly wet paper is to be placed on top of the plate and the whole is passed through the press, applying significant and even pressure

The print is  carefully lifted off the plate
Here are the first five proofs of the bookplate.
The final print, prior being numbered and signed.

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