Printing Intaglio and Monotypes
It's a new millenium and printmakers today are experiencing a rebirth; letting go of old toxic methods and embracing new alternatives to printmaking. Safer platemaking processes such as ImagOnTM, Solarplates and Resintaglio, to name a few, have all made the quality of our lives as printmakers better. The last holdout (oil-based) material has been the intaglio ink.
Being the creators of Akua-Kolor monotype ink, we were encouraged by printmakers to try and come up with water-based intaglio ink. Although there was water-based relief ink, there was still no water-based intaglio ink. We accepted the challenge and tackled the task much as we did when we began trying to create our water-based monotype ink, Akua-Kolor. After much trial and error we finally came up with water-based intaglio ink, which met all of our criteria, and called it Akua-2.
In developing Akua-2 we felt it was very important that, while fulfilling the need for a safer intaglio ink, it also worked well with the new and exciting alternative platemaking techniques like ImagOnTM, Solarplates, Resintaglio and Photocarborundum.
We worked closely with Keith Howard, Head of Non-Toxic Printmaking at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Keith Howard and his graduate students tested the inks on ImagOnTM plates while we perfected the formula. In addition, Dan Welden, originator of the solarplate, tested our inks on solarplates. Catherine Kernan, Co-Director of Mixit Print Studio, tested our inks on traditional etchings and monotypes.
After getting positive feedback from our testers we began to manufacture the Akua-2 water-based intaglio ink. Finally there is an alternative to oil-based ink that turned out to be not only safer to use but also easier and more economical to use than oil-based inks.
Akua-2 water-based intaglio ink cleans up with soap and water, eliminating the need for solvents, fire proof containers and expensive ventilation systems. The ink will not harden or skin in the jar, so ink is never wasted. Akua-2 is water-based but not water-soluble. Water-soluble inks will run or bleed once printed. Akua-2 will not; it is waterproof immediately after printing. Therefore it is possible to soak a print if necessary. Tarlatan and rags can be washed with soap and water and re-used after printing with Akua-2.
We now offer two lines of water-based inks that are completely compatible. Akua-Kolor water-based monotype ink comes in a bottled liquid formula. It is available in 24 single pigment colors. All of our colors are made with single pigments. We do not mix colors. That is why the colors are so brilliant. Single pigment paints and inks offer the artist greater potential for achieving richer colors when doing their own mixing. A few drops of liquid Akua-Kolor can be added to the stiff formula of Akua-2 water-based intaglio ink or Akua-2 Transparent Base. Together the inks can be used to achieve exciting results for viscosity monotype printmaking. This unique method of printing involves printing with the use of inks of different viscosities, liquid and stiff. (Please see instructions for creating viscosity monotypes).
As artists, we understand the importance of using lightfast colors. We have conducted extensive lightfast tests and chose only lightfast pigments for our inks. To test the lightfast qualities of your inks, place a color swatch by a sunny window. Block off half the swatch with an opaque piece of paper and leave the other half exposed. Compare the covered with the uncovered swatch over a period of time for results. There are books available that give lightfast test results. Michael Wilcox's The Artist's Guide to Selecting Colors and Hillary Page's Guide to Watercolor Paints are good resources. In order to look up this information you will need to know how to identify the pigment by the color index name.
Color index names can be found on all labels of Akua-Kolor as well as on labels from other reliable manufactures of water-based and oil-based inks and paints. The color index name is the only true source for identifying the pigment. The name of the color may vary from manufacture to manufacture, so the color name is not a reliable source. Use the color index name for matching colors between manufactures. The color index name remains the same for all manufactures of pigmented oil-based and water-based paints and inks.
Understanding color index names is simple. The first letter will tell you whether the color is from a pigment (P) or from a dye (D). The second letter will tell you the color: B (blue), Y (yellow), R (red), Br (brown), etc. The number following the letter(s) will tell you the exact pigment used: 24 as opposed to 43, numbers given to specific pigments.
ULTRAMARINE BLUE PB29
P: ensures that the color is a pigment.
B: represents blue
29: represents the exact blue pigment.
When several color index names are found on the label, that signifies that the manufacture mixed the color.
VAN DYKE BROWN PR101 / PV19
PR101 (Red Oxide) was mixed with PV19 (Quinacridone Violet) to create Van Dyke Brown.
For further instructions and samples of a variety of prints made with water-based inks please visit our web site at www.waterbasedinks.com. We are excited to be part of this movement towards a safer and less toxic printmaking environment.
Susan Rostow and William Jung are artists, educators and the manufactures of Akua-Kolor and Akua-2 water-based inks.
Alternative Platemaking Methods for Printing with Akua-2 Water-based Intaglio Ink
Solarplate etching, developed by Dan Welden uses sunlight
and water instead of the traditional acids and grounds. The solarplate
is a prepared, light sensitive polymer surface on a steel backing.
For additional information, to schedule a workshop or to order solarplates
and Printmaking in the Sun, by Dan Welden and Pauline Muir, call
(631) 725-6087 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Resintaglio is a hard epoxy plate that can be hand engraved
and then wiped with ink in the traditional intaglio manner. A description
of how to make Resintaglio engraving is presented in the inventors/manufactures
manual Engraving on Resintaglio. Manual is available through McClain's
Printmaking Supplies and through Renaissance Graphics.