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Glossary
Aquatint
An intaglio technique in which gradations of tone or shadow are produced rather than sharp lines; often this technique is used in conjunction with etching for images that can resemble watercolor washes. In this process the artist applies a layer of granular, acid-resistant material to the plate before submerging it in an acid bath that "bites" in and around the layer, creating large areas of texture. The use of varying granule sizes produces different degrees of tone. Spitbite aquatint involves painting acid directly onto the aquatint coating of the prepared plate. Traditionally, a clean brush was coated with saliva, dipped into nitric acid and brushed onto the plate, hence the name of this process. Now artists may use chemicals like ethylene glycol or Kodak Photoflo, in combination with or in place of saliva, to control the strength of the acid applied.