Roulettes and moulettes are being used in printmaking for mostly two purposes:
- For locally roughening of the plate, allowing the plate to retain more ink. Onn that particular spot the print will become darker. Roulettes allow creating an image with all tonal values. Before the invention of mezzo tint rockers, roulettes were also used for making a mezzotint; the whole plate was roughened as equally as possible. Next the plate was worked with scrapers and burnishers to create an image.
- Crayon-manner, chalk-manner. A soft ground is brought on the plate. Next the ground is worked with roulettes and moulettes. De etching ground will, as a result, be perforated. After this the plate will be etched. For a long time this was the way to imitate crayon drawings, hence "crayonmanner"