• Mezzotint Rockers
  • Mezzotint Rockers
  • Mezzotint Rockers
  • Mezzotint Rockers
  • Mezzotint Rockers
  • Mezzotint Rockers

Mezzotint Rockers

Mezzotint is a drypoint method of intaglio printmaking where a copper plate is roughened with a mezzotint rocker. The rockers have small, regular metal teeth press into the plate, creating tiny half-tone indentations that hold ink. The plate is rocked in multiple directions until it prints a solid colour, at which point the surface is scraped and burnished to create tone and lighter areas. This method of printmaking is popular for creating soft graduations in tone and rich velvety blacks.

E C Lyons mezzotint rockers are made from the highest quality carbon tool steel with a stained birch handle, measuring 18cm in length. The tools come in a range of widths, and in general, it's best to choose the wider tools for bigger plates. Mezzotint tools are also available in a variety of gauges, from coarse to fine. Weights can be added to the tools to allow for easier, even rocking.

Gauge Size - These numbers indicate the lines per inch of the rocker.

  • 100 gauge rockers: suitable for very fine detail and line work. The finer rockers also make surfaces that can be easily added to with engraving or other drypoint methods.
  • 45 gauge rockers: give a coarse finish that will hold a lot of ink, and are more suited to images that require strong tonal range. 
  • 85 gauge rockers: are our most popular mezzotint rockers, as they provide a good balance between creating a plate that holds a variety of different tones whilst simultaneously allowing for finer line work in the burnishing process.

Extra Fine 120 and 150 gauge rockers are also available in the 4" rocker size

To protect the teeth on your rocker you may not want to rock to close to the edge of the plate, a roulette can be used to add in texture along the edges instead.

SKU: E081.11
Lines per inch:
Regular price

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