A sharp needle-point (drypoint) tool is used to draw into the surface of a metal (usually copper) plate. The drypoint tool throws up a burr as it is drawn across the metal. When the plate is inked, the burr catches the ink, which gives a drypoint its characteristic soft, velvety line. Excess ink is removed from the plate, damp paper is placed over the plate, the plate is passed through the printing press, and the ink from the plate transfers to the paper. Each pass through the press lessens the burr on a drypoint, so editions are usually small.
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