Monday, April 12, 2010

How to Get Started in Printmaking: Make your own Etching Inks

Welcome, and thank you for joining me.

It is relatively easy to make your own etching ink if you desire. The chemical compounds of etching ink are quite simple and can be found at your local art store. You will need burnt plate oil (a thickened linseed oil) and a good quality powdered artist pigment. The pigments are going to be the most expensive part of your recipe.

I recommend  using a low viscosity oil for etching inks as typically higher viscosity oils are used in relief and lithographic inks. When you are printing you may also use small additions of oils with different viscosities to modify your inks as required. Use a thin oil to dilute an etching ink and a thicker oil to add body and tack.
In my previous blog post I discussed the different types of Charbonnel inks and what process they are good for.

When you make your own inks it is important to be consistent with your batches and follow a recipe that has the best results. A badly made ink may be the result of the grinding process, or lack of, which will result in a gritty ink, or when printing the ink may bleed from the etched lines, or fade over time. A good ink will be consistent with each batch, the colour or tone, the tack and body should be predictable. A good ink can be modified to suit your printing needs.

I have included a short video of Daniel Smith in the early days of creating his own etching inks and how he developed a business operating from his garage to a multi-million dollar corporation.


P.S For additional information on how to get started in printmaking visit my website
Jo Lankester

Fortune favours the brave.
Publius Terence

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