I seem to be managing with less proofs now than I used to.
Some prints took around 20 or more stage proofs before the final image. Especially the larger portrait mezzotints, like “Girl by the Window”, “Mother and Child” and “Alina’s Faces”. The smaller and less detailed mezzotints were finished with 4-7 proofs.
I put together a couple of video clips made of a succession of stage proofs. Here is the “Alina’s Faces” – 1:
Experience helps. Now I can judge better the depth of the burnishing by the look of the plate. Important to get the right light on the plate. It has to be diffused yet strong enough.
There were many frustrating moments while I was trying out a variety of rocking methods.
I gave up rocking the plates myself very early on. The process of working on the image itself is time consuming hard and slow enough without wanting to devote another double that time and effort to preparing the plate.
Before I found my present supplier of pre-rocked plates, I tried machine-rocked plates made in Japan. These were no good – very shallow rocking.
Although it was much easier to work on the plate and achieve fine detail without too much effort, the burr was too shallow to hold enough ink. Even light wiping of the plate would lift the ink up and leave bold grey patches on the bakground.
The “Claire” was made on such a plate. The inferriority of the plate made the wiping process extremely fiddly. I manage to print around 60 impressions including author’s proofs and a few rejects simply because I like the image too much to give up sooner.