Wednesday, April 7, 2010

7 Tips to Get Started in Custom Printing


Today the photo shoot of printing the PCA Presidential Print Pandanus 2010 by Tate Adams's went really well. Frances Thomson, Tate Adams and  Donna Foley watched as I pulled the print through the press. I must admit I was a little nervous as it was the first print for the day. Previously there was a section on the plate that did not hold the ink as well as the rest of the plate and I was nervous that it would not be perfect. But as Tate and I pulled the blankets back and removed the print from the plate we saw the most magnificently printed aquatint. The black back ground was intense and the white areas wiped back as desired.

Here are seven tips for printing another artist's prints.
Tip 1. Assess what medium the artist used for the preliminary study and match it as close as possible to a printmaking medium- for example, Tate Adams's original artwork was a gouache on Magnani Acquerello paper. The gouache was a dense flat black so I immediately thought of using a sugarlift aquatint but as Tate is familiar using gouache I replaced the sugarlift with gouache. The gouache works just the same as the sugarlift.
Tate was able to work directly onto the plate with a medium he was used to working with. 
Tip 2. Ask the artist as many questions as possible when discussing the project and give your expert advise to what you think will work best for the image. e.g. Do you have a printmaking paper in mind for use? Would you like this to be a bleed print or have a white paper boarder. How many in the edition etc. 
Tip 3. Work the plate until you think the plate is etched or process to the artists specifications or original artwork. Pull the appropriate number of state proofs until you are happy that the plate is ready for the artist to approve ready for editioning, Bon a tier (French, good to pull). The artist may or may not be closely involved in this proofing process. Judge the artist or ask them how closely they want to be involved.
Tip 4. Before editioning make sure you have the printing paper all torn to size with the correct number of artist proofs, printers proofs and the edition. Use a base sheet for registration and use a fresh tub of ink. Never use old  ink that may have dried lumps through out, it will be evident in the edition. 
Tip 5. During the printing process, I suggest stacking the edition interleaved with news print between canite sheeting to absorb the excess moisture and to flatten the prints. Change the paper daily for one week to ensure the printmaking paper does not dry in the shape of the news print wrinkles.
Tip 6. Have the artist come to you to sign the edition in one sitting and make sure that you receive the agreed amount of printer proofs.
Tip 7. Get a testimonial form your client about your skills and their experience working with you. 

P.S Please leave me a comment or send me an email, 

Jo Lankester

There is no one else who could have done a better job printing it.
Tate Adams

P.P.S Here is a first time ever sneek preview of the PCA Presidention Print 2010

Tate Adams 
Pandanus 2010
Aquatint etching
Printer: Jo Lankester
Garage Press
© Tate Adams 2010

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