Thursday, May 28, 2009

On inking

I said I'd tell you about inking earlier, so here it is. This is basically a description with the different inking methods I've tried.

The application method for methods 1, 2 and 4 are essentially the same. You apply some of the ink (or paint), make sure it's in all the etched lines, then squeegee ink off the top with a scrap of copper that has a straight edge. Once you've done this, let the ink/paint set for however long it needs, then rub it down with steel wool until you're left with ink in the etched lines, and nowhere else. Cover with a protective lacquer if you want.

Method 1: Lithographic/etching ink. About $20 a tube from Eckersley's. This is an oil base soft ground used for etching hand drawn images. Because it was what I had available, this was the first ink I tried. While it sticks in the etching reasonably well, it takes days to dry, and the lacquer that I was using at the time dissolves it. It's also really messy. I was finding black oily stains for weeks afterwards.

Method 2: Because of the waiting time involved with the Lithographic ink, I decided to try with black spray paint. Simply spray onto your plate after etching, squeegee the excess off, and allow to dry. I found that while this was quick, the lacquer, once again, dissolved the paint. It's a lot cleaner though.

Method 3: Permanent marker. Basically, colour the etched lines in with a thick black marker, the ones made by Staedtler are the best. The problem with this method, is purely the recurring lacquer problem. This is a very easy method.

Method 4: This is the best one of all. It's the same as method 1, but use black acrylic paint instead of lithographic ink. This paint dries really quickly, after squeegeeing it takes about 15 minutes. It's cheap, about $3 a tube, and it's lacquer resistant because it's water based.

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