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Old 01-03-2005, 03:39 PM
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Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

This doesnt look like much. Yet. But- I was anxious to try out the Pronto Plates that diane sent me as a 'secret santa' gift, so I gave it a VERY quick shot. I only had about 1/2 hour to get a plate ready, put an image on it, and print it... So, I did this quick test plate-



Now, There are TONS of mistakes here- First, I went too fast, but I have a lot going on and HAD to. Second, I didnt wet the plate well enough, which is why the ink stuck where the image should be. Also, although the book is great, It doesn't go into a lot of detail about some critical things- Like just HOW wet the plate should be!! Oh well, trial and error.

I over rolled it, big time. I should have stopped, but thought I would run it a few more times just to be sure, that is when the ink started to stick where it wasnt supposed to. But, I can see the possibilities of this- It is great to work with!!

On the plate, I used a permanent marker (sharpie) to do the dividing boxes, then in the first box on the right I used a sharpie, the second litho crayons, the third micron pens, and in the last (far left) all of them combined. What kind of amazed me was the micron pens area- You can get a VERY fine line if you want it! I think that I am going to really like working with this, it is SO much like drawing- allows you to be very spontaneous.

BTW- This was Graphic Chemical litho ink, and I printed it on cheap block printing paper (speedball, I think). I didnt even dampen the paper like you are supposed to, and I also printed it by hand burnishing since I didnt have time to setup the press.... Overall, I Like what I see so far with this, and am looking forward to getting more into it!!

I also smell a Printmaking project coming on!!

-Andrew
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:50 AM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

Very interesting Andrew. I've never heard of these plates. Is it new technology? And you roll up and print like lithography, always keeping the plate wet as you roll on the ink? Hope I didn't miss a discussion somewhere else. Haven't been visiting the forum much lately. Let us see future work with the process if you don't mind!
Lee
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:17 AM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

Not only is it like lithography- it IS lithography- Without all the expensive equipment!!!

The plates are polyester sheets, about the thickness of a heavy paper. They are white, and translucent. The polyester material is porous, and holds water. To put an image on the plate, you have to fill areas of the plate that you want to print so that water doesnt soak into them, and pretty much anything that is not water soluable can be used to do this- Crayons, permanent markers, tousche- You name it.

The thing that makes these plates great is they are ready to go from the package, no prep, no chemicals. You just draw on them like you would a sheet of paper. They are also printable by hand, so even if you don't have a press handy, you can use a spoon or barren to print them. For those of us fortunate to have use of a press, you can print them on a typical litho press, OR on an etching press.

I have never done any traditional lithography, but have read up on it- and can see that this is FAR less equipment intensive, and looks to be a LOT easier. I am looking forward to experimenting!!

-Andrew
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:47 PM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

I like the idea that it doesn't take a lot of toxic chemicals. That is one thing that has always kept me from lithography. Can you buy these from Graphic Chemical or are they available through Daniel Smith or Dick Blick. I have never seen them in one of their catalogs, but I would love to give it a try. Did you have trouble getting your enough pressure from your press? It would seem that you do not have to worry about beveling so that you do not cut the blankets which is another plus. I hate beveling.
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:04 PM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sassybird
I like the idea that it doesn't take a lot of toxic chemicals.
The worst stuff you have to deal with is the ink- And I am sure it is no worse than block printing ink- just tackier. I am using Graphic Chemical at the moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sassybird
Can you buy these from Graphic Chemical or are they available through Daniel Smith or Dick Blick. I have never seen them in one of their catalogs, but I would love to give it a try.
There are a few places on the web that I have seen them, but they are in like 100 packs usually- for about $80.00 and up. Diane sent mine as part of the secret santa exchange, perhaps she has found a source for single plates... If not, and there is interest, I may buy a big pack and break it up so everyone can try it economically...
Quote:
Originally Posted by sassybird
Did you have trouble getting your enough pressure from your press? It would seem that you do not have to worry about beveling so that you do not cut the blankets which is another plus. I hate beveling.

Certainly no beveling- The paper that I was printing on is thicker than the plate!! I didnt even use a press- I used hand pressure, I didnt have time to get the press out and adjusted. The press would have made things that much easier, I am sure- But it printed VERY well by hand, If I had wet the plate down right... Ink just stuck where it wasn't supposed to stick.

The other thing about the thinness of the plates is that they are flexible- and you can get all kinds of cool textures by doing rubbings, etc... The sky is the limit. This is really fun stuff!!

-Andrew
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Old 01-05-2005, 04:15 PM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

Wow this looks like cool stuff Andrew. I always hated litho because of the preparation and chemicals, but with this stuff it may be worth it. The great thing about it is you can use the block ink you already have, you just have to thicken it a bit. The wetting and printing can be tricky on Lithos, Not sure how this stuff works, but we had to wet then roll the ink 8 times, going in a different direction each time on the plate, then print, and start all over again with the wetting inking printing. Some of us tag teamed it with another student, one was wetting with the sponge then one inking and printing, while others did everything by themselves, but they did OK, once they got the hang of it. It sounds like maybe you took to long to ink the plate and it dried up a bit in places so ink got to areas it should not be or the ink may have been a bit to thin. Where you using litho ink?
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Old 01-05-2005, 08:37 PM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

I haven't had a chance to work with the plates yet... This week definitely, Andrew...

I got them from Media Street, Inc http://www.mediastreet.com/cgi-bin/t...am?anchor=#top A package of 100 (size 8.5"x15") cost US$69.36 plus shipping. I opted for that size since I can cut them down or use the entire sheet, depending upon what I'm doing.

If anyone is interested in experimenting, pm me and I'll be glad to send you a piece to play with...

Diane
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:59 PM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

I looked this up and I read you can use a laser printer to do the plate. If that's true, theoretically I could use this method to hand-print text and images that started out on my computer??? Has anyone tried this? What's the level of detail possible? I've recently conceieved a book-binding project for poems and prints and was looking for a way to print the text pages other than just from my computer printer. Letterpress isn't in my budget, so I'm drunk just thinking about the possibilities with these Pronto Plates....
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Old 01-06-2005, 12:06 AM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

FYI, Graphic Chemical does sell them individually but they are hiding as they did not seem to be in any category--I had to search the site to find them. So does a litho place called Stones Crayons, but they are a tad more expensive. I can't wait to see some more images!
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Old 01-06-2005, 01:57 AM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

I'm interested in this as well. Sounds kind of like 'Litho Sketch' (which uses specially treated paper) but without having to put a special solution on the plate?

One question I have about pronto plates is how many quality prints can be pulled before the image deteriorates? And, does hand vs. press printing affect that? So many questions~
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Old 01-06-2005, 03:04 AM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

Where can I find out more information on these plates? How to use them etc... Does the image come out backward like all other printmaking techniques? I wondered about that since lokates was talking about lettering. I would love to be able to transfer my drawings onto these plates for small editions while keeping the original drawing.
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Old 01-06-2005, 03:15 AM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

This process does sound extremely interesting...and promising. It's great when something like this comes along and gets everyone's gears turning! Thanks Diane and Andrew for sharing your information and enthusiasm.
Lee
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Old 01-06-2005, 08:24 AM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

I'll TRY to answer these questions to the best of my ability, however remember that these answers are based on research rather than actual experience-

Quote:
Originally Posted by sassybird
Where can I find out more information on these plates? How to use them etc...

There is a good book availible, at http://www.nontoxic-printmaking.com that is pretty comprehensive. It isnt a big book- 60 pages- but it answers pretty much any question that you might have. $18.99. I have a copy, it is great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sassybird
Does the image come out backward like all other printmaking techniques? I wondered about that since lokates was talking about lettering.

Yes, everything is reversed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetsam
I'm interested in this as well. Sounds kind of like 'Litho Sketch' (which uses specially treated paper) but without having to put a special solution on the plate?

Similar, in a way, to litho-sketch, in that it is on a thin plate, however I did some research into litho-sketch and really wasn't all that impressed, seems kind of limited. I think that my biggest issue with it is that the plates dont last too long, since they are paper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetsam
One question I have about pronto plates is how many quality prints can be pulled before the image deteriorates? And, does hand vs. press printing affect that?

It is my understanding that polyester litho plates were orriginally developed for high volume commercial printing. I think that they should stand up to pretty much any edition that a fine art printmaker is going to need, with some care.

I am not sure if hand vs. press makes a difference, But I would guess that it probably doesn't, unless you go way overboard on the press... These are pretty tough sheets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lokates
I looked this up and I read you can use a laser printer to do the plate. If that's true, theoretically I could use this method to hand-print text and images that started out on my computer??? Has anyone tried this? What's the level of detail possible?

There is a section in the book on this. MOST laser printers use a toner which is not water soluable, and therefore can be used directly to image the plates. Photocopiers are the same way. As for level of detail, I am just going by the examples that I have seen, but the outcome is very sharp and high quality... Probably wouldn't have the definition and sharpness that letterpress does, but would be very close- and a LOT less expensive, for sure!

My houseguests are gone finally! I am going to clean out the studio/guestroom and hopefully get some work done in there- The pronto plates have been calling!

-Andrew
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Old 01-06-2005, 01:22 PM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

Sassy, You are right that if I were to print text it would have to be reversed. Some printers have this option. I think there is a way to do this in PageMaker, too. Or maybe I could scan printed text and then reverse the image in PhotoShop. Or write backwards with the bic! I'm still looking for a way to do it in Word.
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Old 01-06-2005, 02:13 PM
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Re: Pronto-Plates- Let the games begin!!

I am watching this thread with much excitement. I hope you will show us what you come up with!

Lokates, to reverse print in Word: Print, Properties, Layout, Mirror.
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