is a printmaking
technique of the intaglio
family, in which the image is incised into the plate by scratching the surface with a hard, sharp metal point. This is different from engraving
, in which the incisions are made by gouging; the difference is obvious upon inspection, since engraved lines are very smooth and hard-edged, while scratching leaves a burr of metal at the edges of the line that softens and blurs it. Because the pressure of printing quickly destroys that burr, drypoint is useful only for very small editions, though electro-plating
the plate hardens the surface, allowing for longer runs.