Drypoint is an intaglio process in which lines are drawn directly into a metal plate with a sharp-pointed tool called a drypoint needle. The ridges of displaced metal, known as burr, cling to the edges of the incised lines. When the plate is inked and passed through a press, the burr creates a fuzzy, velvety effect at the edges of the lines. Although drypoint involves cutting directly into metal like engraving, the mark made by the drypoint needle is much lighter and more spontaneous, closer in character to an etched line, so artists often use drypoint to add the finishing touches to an etched plate, notably Rembrandt. These delicate effects wear down quickly as the burr loses its definition during printing, often producing twenty truly velvet-like impressions.


Here, Herbert von Herkomer's Study (1891), is executed in drypoint alone, illustrating the delicate nature of the drypoint line.