Astride the Elder Scale, mezzotint, 8x8", 2015
A brief description of the process involved in the creation of Necroguardian III, a copperplate mezzotint I began in early 2013. The process described here is the basic procedure I go by in the making of most of my mezzotint pieces.
I. I begin with a hand-drawn sketch on paper.
II. The sketch is transferred to a copper mezzotint plate I have rocked and prepared for printing. Next, I begin to scrape and burnish the image for proofing. In this detail image of the plate with the transferred image on it, parts of the head, torso, and front leg are complete, as indicated by the light reflecting off the polished areas that have been scraped and burnished. The image is in reverse on the mezzotint plate so that the printed impression on paper will be its original mirrored image.
III. First proof. The plate is printed on paper in black ink to see the progress of the work. The primary figure has been complete. Next, the background will be done.
IV. After all primary imagery has been complete, a layer of hard ground (asphaltum) is applied onto the mezzotint plate to act as an acid resist. Nitric acid is then manually applied to "bite" away areas not protected, which will give it a "cloudy" or "smokey" effect in the printed impression. (*This technique is used only when I want this particular effect in a mezzotint piece.)
V. The mezzotint plate is now essentially finished, except for a few minor touch-ups.
VI. The color trial proofing stage. The mezzotint plate is printed in several different colors (and sometimes different paper types) to determine which looks "best." Once a color (and paper) has been settled on, an edition can be pulled.