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kierska
08-15-2003, 02:11 AM
hi all!

my name's kirsten- i'm a recent member of WC- and I noticed that this is a relatively small forum. So...I thought I'd share some of my "tricks" with you, as some of you seem to just be getting into the medium. For those of you who are seasoned professionals- PLEASE share your tricks too! Unless, of course, they are secrets...shhhhh.... :D

RELIEF (lino):
Some of you have mentioned microwaving and placing blocks/unmounted lino in the sun. Great solutions to softening up your linoleum! Another one I have discovered: Dampen a cloth and lay it over your unmounted linoleum or lino block, then run a medium-temp iron over it. This will make your lino sooooo soft and buttery! Repeat when your block begins to cool down.

RELIEF (wood):
This one's easy...buy good tools!!! I started doing wood reliefs with a VERY cheap set of woodcarving tools. I understand the plight of the "starving artist!" But as soon as I bought a few nice tools, I loved carving wood so much more!! Much easier on the hands. (as far as lino tools are concerned- i still use a cheap Speedball set. Linoleum dulls blades fast and it's easier to buy replacements than to sharpen gouges every two seconds) Oh- and get a bench hook- they're very easy to make. (lemme know if you need instructions)

PHOTOPOLYMER (relief & intaglio):
a great way I've found to clean photopolymer plates (and other plates) without the use of turps is- baby or vegetable oil. Cleaning with oil helps to protect the surface- especially if you have lots of delicate detail. Also- in a letterpress class, i discovered industrial Photopolymer- vastly better than the "Solar Plate" you can get through art catalogues. This stuff is about twice as thick, and soooo much more durable. It's also easier to get a nice plate exposure- and very fine lines are possible. (I got it through my instructor- but if you're interested PM me and I'll get ahold of him to find out if it's available in small quantities)

INTAGLIO (acid etching):
if you havn't tried Perchloride- it's worth a go! It's a slower bite- so your lines stay crisp. It is also less toxic than dutch/nitric, so it is safer to use at home if you don't have excellent ventilation. (ex: you could set it up in your garage and crack the door...) *please do use some type of ventilation though, as all chemicals have the potential to be toxic!! Peoples' skin and respiratory reactions are all different...

PRINTING ON THE PRESS (alignment):
try taping grid paper directly on your press bed, with a piece of mylar on top. If you want a specific placement on the paper, first draw in measurement lines on your grid paper- for the position of the plate as well as that of the paper you're printing on. Slap your plate down in the approximate position, then fine-tune your alignment by moving your mylar around. This technique will save you soooo many headaches!! Perfect placement every time!

RELIEF PRINTING (burnishing):
I've seen mention of wooden spoons- which work great. But my favorite tool is the bone folder. This is just a personal preference, but one worth trying! It's great for blocks with lots of fine detail. Best on heavy papers- for thin Japanese papers and the like, stick with flat spoons or barrens.

hmmmm...there is plenty more floating around in my brain, but it's time to snuggle up to my hunny and hit the hay!

I'd like to show you some of my work to get opinions/critiques, but unfortunately I just moved and left all my prints on the other side of the country! Worse yet- my printmaking supplies are all in storage and I'm far far away from my alma mater- which had soooo many lovely presses! :crying: But as soon as I get up and rolling again- i'll post my work- and I'd love to see yours!!!!

Please add to this thread- we all have so much to learn from each other!
goodnight
-kirsten

StoneCarver
08-15-2003, 04:22 PM
My Brother does this Printmaking stuff (I think he is quite good). He took me to a print show at the University of Texas, Austin and explained all the various styles the artists used, how they created different effects, and where the technology changed. Some of the things you have mentioned above where a part of his discussion. He also showed me around the printing area he used in Houston. Pretty cool stuff.

Thanks for the tips.

sassybird
08-18-2003, 11:59 AM
Thank you for sharing your tips with everyone. They are all good, and I use most of them myself. I find that using the veggie oil is so much healthier than the toxic stuff.....lol When I use veggie oil I wash the plate again with Dawn dishwashing liquid. That will remove any oil left behind that may interfere with the ink.

Welcome to WC! and the printmaking forum, kierska:) We are a small forum, because there are not that many printmakers around. As you must have gleamed by now, printmaking is still a very small corner of the art world. I kind of like that. Most people do not have the patiences to go through all the steps it takes to produce a plate and then hand pull the prints. It is a nice alternative to the techo age. Printmaking keeps me grounded.

I hate irons, well, just the ones used for ironing clothes. I always burn myself on them. I use the microwave, or a heating vent during the winter to soften up my lino.

I have a press so I don't have to worry about using alternative means to pull a print, thankfully. My hands and arms won't hold up to anything else anymore.

For intaglio prints I only use copper, and nitric is not recommended for copper. I use ferric chloride. It is not as toxic as nitric, gives a fairly slow bite, and I can regulate it better. I detest zinc plates. Copper is my choice. Like I prefer using cheese cloth to wipe with instead of tarlatan.

Since I only work in 4 sizes I have paper cut for those sizes, and I have templates that I slide under a sheet of plexiglass when I am ready to print.

It is nice to be organized, and researching non toxic means is important to me.

kierska
08-18-2003, 03:52 PM
you have a cool bro stonecarver!!

sassybird- thanks for the tips! Have you tried Image On? Sounds like you're a pro- and you probably know this, but for those who don't:

Image-On is a product that allows a fairly nontoxic photo-technique for intaglio prints. It's a thin blue film that you adhere directly to your copper plate- the plate can later be washed (with a chlorine-like chemical, I believe this is the extent of the process's toxicity) and re-used. You create a transparent negative (which is actually a positive) and expose the plate/negative to UV light. Areas that are exposed to the light harden, areas that are blocked by the "negative" don't, you "wash out" the plate, and voila! a beautiful image for printing- no acid needed. I believe this can be used for relief too (then the "negative" WOULD have to be negative!) but I havn't tried it. This is basically the same process as the photopolymer plate- except that photopolymer is thicker and comes ready-to-expose.

Personally, I enjoy working with acid and hand-engraving techniques (and yes sassybird- copper is soooooo much nicer than zinc!) But Image On and photopolymer can be fun too!

Another couple of things I thought I'd pass on:
MONOTYPE:
I prefer using a copper or zinc plate for monotype instead of Lexan. I think I just enjoy working on metal better than plastic! Copper will give you some great effects, especially when working with mineral spirits and oils.

MEZZOTINT:
I havn't tried this yet, but I was told that an alternate to using that crazy mezzotint rocker to "darken" your plate is-- to use a spray aquatint (I use regular spray paint) on your entire plate- let the acid go to town, and then continue with your scraping and burnishing as you would on a mezzotint. I'm not sure what the benifits/drawbacks are to this method over the traditional one because I've never tried it- has anyone else?

Jonna33
10-23-2003, 06:07 PM
Yes, I have done the spray aquatint and burnishing technique. But I found that the aquatint was spottier than the soft velvet printed from the mezzotint plate. BTW, I bought mezzotint plates already to burnish (already rocked) ... this was in the 80's when I was printmaking all the time so I don't know exactly where to find them now.

I love this forum. I just now looked at it for the first time. I was a printmaker for 12 years (for a living) until I finally ran out of steam and turned to direct painting for quicker results. Have had tendon problems from all the hand wiping ... I would do a few things different if I had it to do over again.

But as long as you are not wiping plates 16 hrs. a day you will be OK. I tended to be too passionate and created multiple plates that were incredibly difficult to print. I still remember quite a bit though and pull an occasional monotype or block print just for fun. I have copies of all my etchings; I will post one from long ago. This was a single zinc plate alla poupee.

Jonna33
10-23-2003, 06:08 PM
Dont know why the image didnt go. Trying again.

Alan Cross
10-23-2003, 06:48 PM
Hi Kirsten and welcome thanks for all the tips....do you know anything about mono printing I would like to get a better image then I got last time....I use mostly watercolors but also have acrilyics and oils....
Alan :)

pampe
10-25-2003, 06:26 PM
great information, thank you!

kierska
10-28-2003, 12:03 AM
alan-

mono-s can make you laugh or cry- i know just how frustrating it can be! But also such fantastic and surprising results sometimes...

any specific questions?

Alan Cross
10-28-2003, 01:32 AM
Originally posted by kierska
alan-

mono-s can make you laugh or cry- i know just how frustrating it can be! But also such fantastic and surprising results sometimes...

any specific questions?

Kirsten thanks I would like to try some in oils or acrilys...any hints?
Alan :)

kierska
10-29-2003, 12:02 AM
I've never tried a monotype in acrylics- you would have to work really fast before the paint dries. I actually have never tried it with oil paint either- but I assume you would have more success with that. I know there are water based mono inks out there too, but again...i havn't tried them!

What I have done is monotype prints using oil based ink. The ink used for monotypes and relief prints is fairly "stiff" and needs to be loosened by scraping with a palette knife first. I've also used etching ink, but it is more tacky and sometimes just too sticky.

You can use a brayer to apply the ink to your lexan or metal plate, or use a regular paintbrush, or "paint shapers" (paintbrush handles with rubber tips) or q-tips, toothpicks, etc. Basically- whatever you want! Once the ink is down you can scrape into it, add oils, mineral spirits, etc...just play around and see what you like. Adding mineral spirits directly to the ink will give you a washy effect. Spattering your finished design with turp gives some cool results. (the list goes on and on!)

You can layer colors to some extent, but don't get it too goopy or you'll end up with splotches on your paper. Remember that the design will look much darker once it is transferred to paper. As far as paper is concerned- use something fairly heavy that will stand up to being soaked in water, blotted dry, and run through the press. I've tried monos on thin paper and had some OK results, but sometimes it doesn't absorb ink very well and can tear. If you want to try thin paper- try spraying it with water w/a misting bottle instead of soaking- or don't wet it at all.

I hope this helps- let me know if you have any questions!

oh- and Jonna- I love your print! Sixteen hours a day of wiping...now THAT'S dedication!!!

Alan Cross
10-29-2003, 12:26 AM
Thanks Kirsten for the tips I will give it a try as soon as I find some time!! I have most of the stuff....
Alan :)

Jonna33
10-29-2003, 07:10 PM
Thanks for the compliment, Kirsten.

Alan, I have done monotypes in acrylic and oil. For acrylic it helps to transfer the paint with a baren and only a small section of the painting at a time. (Tape the paper beside the plate and keep the plate aligned on the table, then flop the paper over to print.) My results were disappointing. I wondered why a person wouldnt just paint on the paper.

I also have used oil paints thinned with mineral spirits but you have to get the paint pretty thin or as Kierska says, you'll get glops that run under the pressure of the press. You dont want standing paint on the plate at all. I have had llmited success with this method.

I have also done water color prints on a gum arabic rub -up plate. You have to let the watercolor dry thoroughly before you print onto dampened paper. The gum arabic allows the (thickly applied & dry) watercolor to lift off the plate onto the paper.

It is easiest to work with regular etching or litho ink. It is the proper consistency.

Have fun!

Alan Cross
10-29-2003, 08:05 PM
Originally posted by Jonna33
Thanks for the compliment, Kirsten.

Alan, I have done monotypes in acrylic and oil. For acrylic it helps to transfer the paint with a baren and only a small section of the painting at a time. (Tape the paper beside the plate and keep the plate aligned on the table, then flop the paper over to print.) My results were disappointing. I wondered why a person wouldnt just paint on the paper.

I also have used oil paints thinned with mineral spirits but you have to get the paint pretty thin or as Kierska says, you'll get glops that run under the pressure of the press. You dont want standing paint on the plate at all. I have had llmited success with this method.

I have also done water color prints on a gum arabic rub -up plate. You have to let the watercolor dry thoroughly before you print onto dampened paper. The gum arabic allows the (thickly applied & dry) watercolor to lift off the plate onto the paper.

It is easiest to work with regular etching or litho ink. It is the proper consistency.

Have fun!

Thanks yes thats what I have had disappointment....
Iwill give it another try....I will try with the inks I have several colors...
Alan :)

pinkbubelz
11-03-2003, 12:03 PM
Can you do mono prints by hand-- without a press?

I saw the paints in an art supply store and it looks interesting to me... ;-) but I don't have press....

--Iris

Jonna33
11-03-2003, 12:12 PM
Can you do mono prints by hand-- without a press?

Perhaps you can get some "interesting" effects but I think you need more pressure and even pressure to get really satifying results.

There is an aluminum rolling pin that Dan Smith sells that is supposed to work on Createx inks (water based) but I am not satisfied with the effect you get from those inks (sorry, Createx people. I have a whole set I'd be happy to sell you that I only used once.)

Having said that, dont give up or take my word for it. I never do if I get a strong idea about something. Experiment yourself and maybe you will discover something else that will be very useful in a way you had not imagined. Then tell me!

sassybird
11-03-2003, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by pinkbubelz
Can you do mono prints by hand-- without a press?

I saw the paints in an art supply store and it looks interesting to me... ;-) but I don't have press....

--Iris

Ok, laugh if you will, but I used to put my plates and paper between two sheets of board and then run the car tire over it to get prints before I got my press. Works well if you are doing small prints.

Alan, I have used oil pastels and mineral spirits to do mono prints with. They work well, and spead very nicely with the mineral spirits.

Alan Cross
11-03-2003, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by sassybird


Ok, laugh if you will, but I used to put my plates and paper between two sheets of board and then run the car tire over it to get prints before I got my press. Works well if you are doing small prints.

Alan, I have used oil pastels and mineral spirits to do mono prints with. They work well, and spead very nicely with the mineral spirits.

Really I have those things maybe I will give that a try does the spirits melt the oil pastels?
Alan :)

pampe
11-03-2003, 09:55 PM
the spirits work on oil pastel like turps

make it liquid, for blending or transferring

Alan Cross
11-04-2003, 01:07 AM
Sounds like I should be using that when I just do my pastels as I dont' like the way the oil pastels don't flow....
Alan :)

pampe
11-04-2003, 02:42 PM
get soft pastels.....otherwise you are really painting with "oil"

Alan Cross
11-04-2003, 06:10 PM
I do have the chalk pastels also just not enough time to do everything ....one of these days I will give them a try also first I want to try monoprinting....
Alan :)

oneima9
01-12-2006, 08:23 PM
hey so when you use a photopolymer plate...do you have an exposure table, vacuum, aquatints, etc. or do you just use homemade supplies. I'm doing some home photopolymers but I've only used UV tables and I know the light units that would be necessary. but now with just a photo lamp and spraypainted acetate (as my aquatint) im having trouble translating the timing etc. any ideas? :confused:

zardoz
01-13-2006, 07:24 PM
Alan , I have done mono types with oils , w/c's and acrylic ,always by hand mostly with a spoon for a baren . I may one day buy or build a press but i kinda like doing these by hand . the acylics I used very thin and and built up my image by painting and pressing several times .I was satisfied with my first image but I am never too concerned with crisp lines . the water color I just did not care for . the colors seemed to always turn out dull and lifeless .maybe something I did wrong . oils can create some amazing images and be used thin or interesting unexpected blobs can really beef up an image :D. if I use thicker paint I normally lightly press a first print and work the ghost for a final image . I don't know how this would work using a press but using a baren of sometype you can adjust pressure on a any given point of your image .there are also mono type inks available from createx I do use them but they are not the greatest . you can also use block printing ink .I have also used brush pens after an accident with coffee showed me that they would transfer . I think for my next experiment I may use burnt motor oil ......I wonder

oh and almost forgot welcome to any and all newcomers to the printmaking forum

Alan Cross
01-13-2006, 07:45 PM
Alan , I have done mono types with oils , w/c's and acrylic ,always by hand mostly with a spoon for a baren . I may one day buy or build a press but i kinda like doing these by hand . the acylics I used very thin and and built up my image by painting and pressing several times .I was satisfied with my first image but I am never too concerned with crisp lines . the water color I just did not care for . the colors seemed to always turn out dull and lifeless .maybe something I did wrong . oils can create some amazing images and be used thin or interesting unexpected blobs can really beef up an image :D. if I use thicker paint I normally lightly press a first print and work the ghost for a final image . I don't know how this would work using a press but using a baren of sometype you can adjust pressure on a any given point of your image .there are also mono type inks available from createx I do use them but they are not the greatest . you can also use block printing ink .I have also used brush pens after an accident with coffee showed me that they would transfer . I think for my next experiment I may use burnt motor oil ......I wonder

oh and almost forgot welcome to any and all newcomers to the printmaking forum
Thanks for that info.....hmmmmmmm burnt motor oil eh?
Alan :)

AmyH
01-14-2006, 12:02 AM
great thread. lots of fantastic info, thanks everyone!