Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Ink Choices

So, at this weekends workshop, the instructor preferred using oil based ink with the Toyobo plates. She felt that it yielded better results and richer color. Because I use Akua intaglio soy based ink, I had to try printing the plates using that ink.

I printed the plates on the same paper we used in the workshop: damp Hahnemhule Copperplate. This is what I found.

Initially, when I pulled the proofs, it appeared as though the prints were similar. The detail appeared intact and the color looked the same.

Oil based ink left - Akua Intaglio Carbon Black right

When I compared the prints three hours later, I found that the blacks in the Akua prints were no longer as deep and rich as those printed with the oil based ink.

Oil Based ink top - Akua Intaglio Cartbon Black bottom

The outcome was the same with both plates.

The instructor mentioned that she preferred printing with oil based inks because the Akua inks did not produce rich images and she felt the colors were weak in intensity. With my comparison experiment, I can definitely see her point. Though initially the images appeared similar, as the new prints dried, the deep blacks lost their intensity. The prints were not as crisp as those printed with the oil based inks. It was surprising because it had been awhile since I had used oil based inks and without a side by side comparison, I felt that Akua produced a strong print. I do know of one printmaker who alters his Akua inks by mixing in a bit of oil based ink; maybe that's his solution to the problem. I might give that a try next. I'm definitely going to do some more ink research.

The bottom line is that each printmaker has their own unique way of working and personal preferences so it's always interesting to come away from a workshop with helpful hints and a new perspective.

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