Aquatint

Aquatint is an intaglio printmaking technique, a variant of etching.

In intaglio printmaking, you make marks on the matrix (in the case of aquatint, a copper or zinc plate) that are capable of holding ink. The inked plate is passed through a printing press together with a sheet of paper, resulting in a transfer of the ink to the paper. This can be repeated a number of times, depending on the particular technique.

Like etching, aquatint uses the application of acid to make the marks in the metal plate. Where the engraving technique uses a needle to make lines that print in black (or whatever color ink is used), aquatint uses powdered rosin to create a tonal effect. The rosin is acid resistant and typically adhered to the plate by controlled heating. The tonal variation is controlled by the level of acid exposure over large areas, and thus the image is shaped by large sections at a time.

Another tonal technique, mezzotint, begins with a plate surface that is evenly indented so that it will carry a fairly dark tone of ink. The mezzotint plate is then smoothed and polished to make areas carry less ink and thus print a lighter shade. Alternatively, beginning with a smooth plate, areas are roughened to make them darker. Occasionally these two techniques are combined.

Read more about Aquatint:  History, The Technique of Aquatint, Famous Examples

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Aquatint - Famous Examples
... Francisco Goya famously took great advantage of aquatint printmaking, in his Los Caprichos series (1799) Los Desastres de la Guerra (1810–19) La Tauromaquia (1816) and Los disparates (ca ... Master engraver Robert Havell used aquatint for John James Audubon's Birds of America (1826–38) ... his many paintings of the Los Angeles lifestyle in the 60's, has created a number of aquatints and etchings used with color in his "The Blue Guita" series of ...
Mandan - Image Gallery
... Mändeh-Páhchu, A young Mandan Indian" aquatint by Karl Bodmer from the book "Maximilian, Prince of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America, during the years 1832–1834" A feast inside a ... Dance of the Mandan Indians" aquatint by Karl Bodmer from the book "Maximilian, Prince of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America, during ...
Printmaking - Techniques - Aquatint
... Like etching, aquatint technique involves the application of acid to make marks in a metal plate ... a needle to make lines that retain ink, aquatint relies on powdered rosin which is acid resistant in the ground to create a tonal effect ... Goya used aquatint for most of his prints ...
Peter Perez Burdett - Biography - Liverpool
... The first British aquatint artist is thought to be Burdett, who exhibited these first aquatints in 1772 ... Burdett brushed acid direct on to an aquatint ground, only using varnish to stop-off large areas of a single tone ... Burdett published a first aquatint based on an image by John Hamilton Mortimer, but he eventually sold the process to another cartographer, Paul Sandby ...
John James Audubon - Birds of America
... The original edition was engraved in aquatint by Robert Havell, Jr ... as the greatest picture book ever produced and the finest aquatint work ... By the 1830s, the aquatint process was largely superseded by lithography ...