Mezzotint: 'Cat-in-the-Box'

Cat-in-the-Box: another mezzotint

I am not sure if I had intended to do a series of mezzotint cats, but that is what seems to be happening! Besides, they are a useful subject and size to be practising with a technique that is fairly new to me, so here is my latest. This is not a drawing sketched from life but owners of cats will instantly recognize this behaviour as classic catishness. Below is the initial sketch on the aluminium plate, all the rest of the detail was made up as I went along. For more on the mezzotint process, have a look at…

Detail of the finished mezzotint

Mezzotint on aluminium: Percy Cat

I had another play with the mezzotint rocker yesterday, with a proper sketch first and everything. I took some photos as I went along, but I’m not going to explain the ‘rocking’ process in much detail as you can see that on this post of a few weeks ago. A cross-over has occurred between my two blogs – the drawing that this mezzotint is based on is one of my cat-of-the-day sketches. The printing plate is aluminium and is cut to the same size as the prints I have made into coasters. For a while I have thought that the…

Stripy cat washing

Stripy cat bottom!

I promised you a cat bottom, so here it is! This one was taken from the very first post of my cat-of-the-day sketchbook blog: It’s another mezzotint of course, printed from aluminium. The print is only 8cm square by the way, but if you want to see it quite close up, just click on the image. Here is the original sketch (below). Arthur is not really that stripy, but it was a starting point: And below – a few of the stages of making the plate:  

Spiky Cat mezzotint print

The ‘Spiky Cat’ revisited

I went back to the plate in my post ‘Mezzotint done improperly‘, and burnished a few features into my Spiky Cat. Now he looks like this: I also added a little more detail with the mezzotint rocker (before burnishing). He used to look like this: I think it’s an interesting effect, but I wonder if the approach has a wider application or whether it is mostly suitable for drawing cats like this? It would be interesting to find out sometime. Below is a photo of the printing plate as it now looks:

The print so far

Mezzotint done improperly

Printing ‘The Spiky Cat’… I promised this post was coming! While I was making the printing plate in the previous post it occurred to me that the mezzotint rocker – the tool that is used to put the texture on the plate first, produces a rather interesting line which might be reminiscent of the spiky hairiness of cats just on its own. The individual lines made by this tool aren’t usually seen in the final print – the idea is to ‘rock’ all over the plate in 8 different directions until you have an even texture of burrs and pock-marks,…

The finished mezzotint print

Mezzotint done properly

‘Stripy Cat, Washing’ I do not claim in any way to be an expert in mezzotint, the title of this post is to contrast with the post coming next, which will be ‘Mezzotint done improperly’. I have two new prints to show you which I did very differently from each other, however you will have to wait for the ‘improper’ one. This is a print inspired by the many cat drawings I have been posting on my other blog, Cat-of-the-day. A few months ago I posted a series of photos of the last mezzotint print I made – ‘Percy Cat’….

Burnished mezzotint plate

More mezzotint masqueraders

…sorry for the alliteration, but the title describes just what I’ve been up to: continuing the making of some very small mezzotint prints. All the mezzotint plates and prints I have so far shown you measure 5×6 cm, or 2 x 2 1/4 inches. Small, and therefore fairly quick to make, though the whole process is still undoubtedly hard work on the hands! And so I am getting used to this technique before I embark on something more ambitious… and gather together some pennies to afford a large ‘pre-rocked’ copper plate – which costs many times more than the plain…

Mezzotint print of 'The head of Medusa' - needing a little more work...

A first attempt at Mezzotint part 2

(continued from: ) …so, yesterday was the moment of truth, or at least, one moment of truth. The image on the little copper plate on which I’ve been working may look very nice, but the important thing is what will it look like as a print? As I explained, the image is created by starting with a roughened surface and burnishing areas of it smooth, or partially smooth, with steel tools. What will be the lighter areas (in the final print) are shiny areas on the copper plate against the matt areas of the background. Now it’s time to…

Cat-and-dead-rat sketch 3

Memento Mori

Not-so-cute cats (mostly). Do not fear, there are no dead cats in this post, but perhaps rat-owners might be advised to look away and to skip this one. Continuing with my little series of cat mezzotint prints, I felt it was important that I didn’t end up with a series entirely comprising nice cute cat pictures. Cats are lovely, but lets have the Compleat Cat. Therefore, I thought at the very least there should be the classic cat-washing-bum pose, and at lease one dead rat. We have chickens and where they live has become so badly undermined with rats we…

The Mistress Plan - drypoint on aluminium

The Mistress Plan

When I posted ‘The Master Plan‘ I said there was an obvious sequel, and  here it is: ‘The Mistress Plan’. And they are indeed very obvious… This is of course another in my series of 12 views of Glastonbury Tor, for the 2015 calendar – you can catch up with the work to date here: Technically it’s another drypoint, created the same way as The master Plan. I am quite getting into drypoint, though I couldn’t resist a proper mezzotint rocker selling for half price on Ebay the other day (they almost never come up, ever – I think…