Marks are made with a silver wire, or tool known as a stylus, on a supporting surface which has been
coated with a ground preparation.
The ground is made up of a binder, usually a rabbit-skin glue solution known as size and pigments or
Traditional pigments and fillers vary including among them chalks, bone dust, lead white, dry ground
color pigments, ground egg shell and so on all adding enough “tooth” or roughness to the “Ground” or
drawing surface to cause the silver to leave a trail of particles …a mark.
To the chosen pigments and fillers Cennini tells us…
“ put in enough of this size to make it run freely from your brush. And choose a soft bristle brush. Then
take that paper of yours which you wish to tint; lay some of this tint evenly over the ground of your
paper, running your hand lightly, with the brush half dry, first in one direction then in the other.
And put on three or four coats of it in this way. And wait long enough between one coat and the next
for each coat to dry.”
1. Stretch paper as for watercolor painting (if desired), allow to dry.
2. Prepare ground
3. Apply ground to paper (with smooth flat brush,) in several thin coats, alternating direction
(allow to dry between coats.)
4. Sand smooth when dry with fine, finishing sand paper, (or burnish smooth with gilders burnisher.)
5. Draw in linear fashion with pointed silver wire, lightly at first, developing darks by repeated marking
rather than through increased pressure. A cross hatch technique works very well in Silverpoint though
any style is possible
NOTE: The point of the silver wire should not be so sharp or irregular that it scratches or scores the