Last time, I talked about books that I find inspiring. But I am a printmaker and I find processes inspiring. So here is the list of my essential reference books. These are the ones I go to when I have a problem, or when I just need to think about things in a fresh way.

The Mezzotint: History and Technique, Carol Wax
This is the bible of reductive tonal printmaking. While it focuses on the mezzotint process where a rocker is used to create a field of pits and burrs that generate a solid tone, many of the techniques can be applied to reduction of fields created by any one of a number of methods. Well written, beautiful images.

Colour Etching, Nigel Oxley
This one is a relative newcomer to my shelf. The terminology is distinctly British, but there is a lot of good information here, especially on the carborundum process.

Printmaking: History and Process, Donald Saff & Deli Sacilotto
Broad, complete and succinctly presented. Probably the single best overview of fine art printmaking processes available.

Magical Secrets about Line Etching and Engraving, Catherine Brooks
A nice discussion about etched and engraved lines. The appendix on printing by Kathan Brown has been very influential for me. The best part of this book is the look at how the various artists that have worked at Crown Point Press thought about the various processes and their images.

Magical Secrets about Aquatint, Emily York
A wonderful look at tone in intaglio processes. I have found a lot of new insights from this book, and I wouldn’t say I have really absorbed all of it yet. It is constructed along the same lines as the previous Magical Secrets book and has the same appendix by Kathan Brown. This also contains the best discussion I have found of steel facing copper plates.

Tamarind Techniques for Fine Art Lithography, Marjorie Devon
This is the newest book on my bookshelf and a great resource. It replaces the previous Tamarind guide (long out of print). It is fully updated for current processes and materials. The ultimate book on lithography by the people who wrote the book on lithography (literally)

These are some of the books that inspire me… go find some that inspire you.