In the mezzotint process, we begin with a plate whose surface is evenly roughened. This is then smoothed or scraped down (with scraper or burnisher) in those parts where degrees of paleness are required.

The plate is then inked and wiped, and run through a press (as with etching plates). The unburnished parts will print deep black, the wholly burnished parts will print white, and a fine continuum of shades in between is possible.