Etching inks

Since I have been using zinc plates to etch and print from I have noticed a definite change in the colours I have mixed up after processing them through inking the plate and printing them. They seem to change to a much duller version.

There were certain colours that were difficult to mix up such as real turquoise for example and I decided to send for a college brand in a ready mixed version of Turquoise Lake, and I was pleasantly surprised how well the colour kept on  printing and it became my favourite to use. Then I sent for gold and silver, as my expectations were up, but these resulted disappointingly in the shades brown and grey. However when the exhibition work started looming I decided I needed to try some brighter colours and hoped that the success with ready mixed turquoise would hold promising for other colours.

The problem was that the company that sold the inks did not have an online colour chart at the time and even their printed version with actual inks was slightly misleading, so I sent for them from another reputable company.

I had decided on a red, orange, green and purple and when they arrived and I checked the colours they seemed the ideal choice, nice and bright. On using the first colour  ruby madder I noticed the difference in using the inks and it seemed to wipe too easily off the plate I worried. I was very disappointed on printing as instead of being brightly coloured it appeared an unsatisfactorily different pink. This did not bode well for my bright colour scheme, and I started to panic. I was not prepared to try further or use other colours as I could not afford to waste time and I rang the company who said that they had never had any complaints about their ink before etc. but I returned  the three tubes I hadn`t used at a cost of £9.00 for a refund.

I returned to the previous companies catalogue where I was tempted by the better quality more expensive French inks, although the usual quality printed alright, I did not want to risk further disappointment with any ink colours pigment quality. However the downside was that it took a further week to order these inks in before they were able to deliver.

My first print  using the ruby red of these new inks was markedly more successful even using the same plate. The inks aren’t quite so impossibly , smudgy when wiping of inks, I believe that the pigment quality is improved, they are not quite as messy to use and ready mixed versions of ink seem to keep their colour much better.

Intaglios basic inks would have been a lot cheaper and would probably have printed satisfactorily, but the (three times )more expensive French inks were the better inks to use and even on plates well wiped with tissue at the end the pigment quality was good enough to print well.


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