.. HAMANISHI Katsunori's "My Techniques" ..  English  日本語

Let me introduce a part of my techniques based on my technical transfer from original mezzotint (half tone) works to colored mezzotints, and applying metal leafs.

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  Mezzotint = Patient Technique ?!          


Once I was invited by an art university in the U.S. as a "Visiting Artist" for introducing my mezzotint works and technique to the students.  Though the students had majored in the print art, completely none of them had experienced the mezzotints. Moreover, all were surprised at the large size of my print works.  I finally could understand why they had never tried the mezzotint works, although they all had yearning for the beauty of them.  This came from the dislike feeling of the tedious process for plate grounding in the mezzotints, "burring" as it is called.

The burring is performed using a burring specialized and comb-like toothed tool called berceau or rocker.  The toothed edge is rocked methodically, vertically, horizontally, diagonally, over the copper plate until the surface of the plate is completely covered with impressions made by its teeth.  For example, I spend approximately 10 to 13 hours for preparation of a mezzotint ground in an A4 size copper plate.  We all might agree with the student in the U.S. who expressed the mezzotint is a "patient technique".

However, this patience is a must to produce the jet-black texture peculiar to mezzotint; the foundation of infinite tones from black to white.  This is the equivalent to the grounding of an oil painting, so we cannot eliminate the necessary steps. Depending on the image and the size of a print, there are times when I change the type of berceau teeth (according to the number of teeth in one inch, there are numbers of 65, 85, 100, etc.) or render partial burring.

After the plates are thus prepared, then the drawing starts.  In the case of mezzotints, drawing means scraping process.  The grounding, burred completely by berceau, produces a surface similar to the fine burrs of a metal file.  The burrs are scraped away carefully by an engraving knife called a scraper.  The jet-black surface and shades of gray are expressed by the depth and the density of these burrs.  After flattening with a scraper, I add oil and then polish with a burnisher (spoon-like tool) when I would like to have the whitest tone.

For all that "patient technique", thus more than 40 years have already passed since I was caught in this trap.






a) berceau (rocker)


(b) burnisher














(c) scraper


dmisc. tools














eprint tools


f  leaf stamping tools



















gsowing sands tools

























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