September 03, 2010

Ink Test Part II

Second colour down on my test print and all is well.  In fact I'm loving the results even though they aren't necessarily what I expected.  Getting right to it, here's how colour two is shaping up.

Daniel Smith (water soluble):

I rolled out my ink very thinly, inked the block in as thin a layer as I could getaway with, and it turned out well.  Nice even coverage and, so far, still OK.


Daniel Smith (oil relief ink)

This was my first surprise of the day.  Although the traditional relief ink has a slightly velvetier texture and rolls out a little more smoothly (as I already noticed with colour one), the end result is virtually indistinguishable from the one printed with water-soluble ink.  I'm not sure why, but I was expecting to see a noticeable difference and there really isn't any.  Apart from the slight variation in colour, both inks produced an identical layer: same opacity, same eggshell sheen. 

Of course, if I really think about this, it makes sense.  Even though one ink is water-soluble and the other isn't, they're both oil based so they likely have similar compositions. 

Georgian Oil Paint and Printmaking Medium

As with colour one, the most significant differences in the inks were obvious here.  And no, I don't mean the colour.  That's just because I didn't have enough blue, unfortunately, so mixing a green comparable to the others wasn't an option.  I had to settle for using the olive green included in my set of oil paints and, even though I added what blue I had left, it didn't alter the hue much.  

Anyway, the main difference with this oil paint/modifier mixture was the degree of coverage.  This "ink" is significantly less opaque, both on the inking plate and, really noticeable now in layer two, on the print itself. It's slightly trickier to work with, I had to work harder to roll out an even layer, but it actually turned out fine on the print itself. 

As I've said, I have used this mixture for a number of prints in the past. But this was several years ago and I forgot what working with them was like.  So now, the big surprise is how much I like the result. I'm not sure if the above close-up shows it well but this ink mixture has some of the translucent quality of watercolour.  That could have it's advantages, particularly if used along with the stronger DS inks.  

Yes, you can add transparent medium to the Dan Smith inks and I use it on a regular basis.  But the texture of the DS transparent medium is more rubbery somehow and, even though it does give the DS inks a certain transparency, the end product is not the same as here.  This ink mixture is oil based yet has an appearance similar to the water-based inks used in Moku Hanga.  It's softer.

I suspect that in a reduction of several layers I'd have to bring in the DS ink for those final colours because this mixture wouldn't cover as well.  But I'm very curious about combining the two mediums in the same print now.    

The final surprise of the day was with the clean-up.  The last time I used traditional oil inks I used paint thinner.  This time I decided to try oil and, what do you know, it worked.  I had some Mineral oil on hand so I used it to wipe both inking plate and brayer and it did a fantastic job.  No terrible smell, no dry finger tips.  A bit of soap and water after that and everything is good to go for next time.  


Sherrie Y said...

Oil cleanup for oil inks... I didn't believe it for the longest time, but now I can't imagine why I waited so long to make the switch.

A transparency hint: I know relief printers who use the DS litho inks interchangeably with the relief inks. (The biggest difference being ink tack, which can be improved with modifiers like Setswell.) But even better, you can use the tint base extender (I use Graphic Chemical) instead of the DS transparent medium, which I agree is too gummy. SO many ways to put ink together... it's a wonder we ever get anything printed sometimes. Carry on!

Libby Fife said...

The prints look great, both of them. I like the idea of a more translucent look.

I just didn't realize there were so many variables:):(

Katka said...

Thanks to you both for dropping by and leaving a note.


Many thanks for the hint re: Graphic Chemical's base extender. I've checked it out on line and will most definitely order some to try.
Being a self-taught part-time printmaker means discoveries tend to come slowly. Every new piece of advice is like a piece of a puzzle. Bit by bit, the image is getting clearer.
The oil clean-up option is a fantastic find that goes at least part of the way toward a "green" approach. That's a huge plus as far as I see it.


There are way too many variables!!! Along with Daniel Smith ink there are at least three more American suppliers I can think of just off the top of my head who, from what I've heard, all make great ink. I'm pretty sure there are subtle difference between them all and the results they produce will be slightly different too.
I'm torn between wanting to try them all (not a good idea since storage space, and funds, are limited) and really learning to manipulate the materials I've already invested money into, to get the results I want.
Then again, there's always Christmas, LOL!