Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Mezzotint Roulettes

I spent some more of my Art Money today on some mezzotint roulettes.

Mezzotint is a dry-point technique, in which the ink is held in thousands and thousands of tiny burrs and divots which are scraped and burnished back to create tonal variations. Where the plate is burnished smooth, it holds no ink at all; where it is completely covered, it renders a deep, velvety black.

Roulettes like these are one of the ways in which the metal plate is covered with those tiny burrs. They're basically just a steel drum, knurled with a pattern of some kind, which is pressed and rolled across the surface of the plate, leaving a pattern of divots behind. These divots can be layered and layered until the whole surface of the plate is just a fractal mess, or they can be laid down gently and carefully to create specific half-tone patterns.

(The black-handled one is actually a checkering graver, not a roulette, but never mind that).

Anyway, these little roulettes are usually pretty expensive, and a set like this would cost several hundred dollars. Fortunately for me, these ones have been hanging around in the stock of The Drawing Room pretty much forever, and I grabbed them for twenty bucks each.

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