On the copper matrix it is then possible to act with the traditional tools of etching thecniques.
Then the plate is inked and hand’s press printed on suitable paper.
The job is laborious and few words are non sufficient to give the delicacy of all the operations, but the result is of great visual impact.
Héliogravure is based on both dimension and depth of the etched spot it produces and is still one of the finest means of photoreproduction we had as heritage from the end of XIX° century experimentations. As well as having a great but non-appreciated expressiveness, the photogravure may be great for mixed technique works.
Artists better acquainted with paper or flexible media than with a metal cliché, provide drawings or sketches performed by any method, even painting, which are transferred on the copper plate with photographic fidelity.
Through bitumen heliogravure you get the specific feature of the original score, either is a charcoal drawing, a watercolor, oil or a lithograph.
On the copper mould then you can manually intervene with any conventional etching technique, including a new graining and biting that will create an identical texture on the heliographic die.
The color selection allows to prepare sheets to be printed in superposition.
The engraved plates are also used by graphic design studios or hand-printers to make artists' books, or for beeing watercoloured and make each copy more personal; by etching-labs that need to revive lost moulds, destroyed or simply exhausted; by artists who need to present their work in multiple copies, numbered, each to the quality of an original.
The print run allowed by a heliogravure mould in copper - without previous ironing the plate - is about 120 copies.