I found a good spotting technique - accidentally....

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by tkamiya, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have been practicing spotting for a while and today, I accidentally found a good method that works for me. Thought I'd share....

    When a drop of spot ink is left in a palette too long, it dries up. This dried up spot is an amazingly easy way to pick up just the right amount of ink. First, slightly wet the brush and touch the dried up ink. Touch few more times to pick up more ink. Then lightly brush the tip on scrap piece of paper until the darkness is just right.

    Because the brush doesn't "suck up" the liquid ink, the amount it picks up is very small and easily controllable.

    I thought I'd share...
     
  2. pinhole_dreamer

    pinhole_dreamer Member

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    I work with resin dolls. That's exactly how I paint the details on their faces...only using watercolors instead. You're right. It's perfect.
     
  3. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    That's how I was taught to do it. The "slightly wet" on the brush was usually a quick lick of the brush. Perhaps not the most sound approach, but I don't spot too many prints these days and I'll blame the various aches and pains on age rather than Spotone.

    I do not teach the lick the brush method though. A drop or two of water and a piece of toilet paper or tissue to suck the "wet" out of the brush.

    The fellow I learned from always told me I wanted a brush with "one wet and a couple of dries" on it.
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    used this method for years, still have a palette with dry ink sitting around some place.
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    So.... this isn't anything new....... Yay! I reinvented a wheel!! Weeeeeee....!
     
  6. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    This reminds me...a old CD-ROM case with a clear cover and a white back-piece makes a great palette for holding and mixing and keeping the dust off of the dried spotting colours. A different shade in each corner with the blended colours spotted around makes a useful tool.
     
  7. chimneyfinder

    chimneyfinder Member

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    To tkamiya, well done, despite what others say there is great satisfaction in finding out for yourself, regardless of wether it is common practice.
    Thanks Dave Swinnard for a very useful tip.
    Regards, Mark Walker.
     
  8. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    David Vestal taught this trick in workshops many years ago. I first became aware of it in a workshop with him in 1990.

    In addition to being easier, it makes a bottle of spotting fluid last forever. Vestal used a porcelain saucer as his pallatte; I use a white plastic makeup container (it has a built-in cover).

    After letting a few drops of fluid dry on the pallatte, use a damp brush to pick up a bit, and then make a smear on the pallatte. After the smear dries, it becomes a reservoir of spotting dye that is thinner, and therefore lighter in color.
     
  9. Valerie

    Valerie Subscriber

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    Thanks for the tip, tkamiya. And you too, Dave--CD case is a great idea. Teaching spotting is on the calendar for my students next week and this will be great info to share.
     
  10. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    hello

    a good method is to use inkjet leftover black, grey, light grey inks of my school epson printer with ultrachrome inks (supposedelly good archival properties). Goes well into paper, good choice of colors water based...

    sometimes i also use a bit of colour to make some effects


    Cheers
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    That's exactly the technique I stumbled upon years ago. My palette is an old white ceramic saucer from a long gone set of dishes. I just keep a spot of each color of Spotone around the perimeter and use the center section for blending. Works a treat. Glad you shared it.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    that is what i used to use, and or the back of an rc print ...
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    It's much better to use spit from your mouth to dilute the spotting medium than water, because it's thicker and less liable to run.
     
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  15. Nacio Jan Brown

    Nacio Jan Brown Member

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    Good ideas above! A technique I came up with when I began to have difficulty spotting because of not being able to focus on things as close as I could in my youth is to use clip-ons over my glasses that provide sharp focus at 8" and use a high intensity lamp. I place the lamp about a foot from the brush tip at about a two-o'clock position with the lamp head about a foot above the table surface. This casts a very sharp shadow of the brush. As I move the brush toward the print the brush tip and its shadow converge, coming together just as the brush tip meets the print. My accuracy is greatly improved with this method. Also, I use a trick I learned decades ago: having the image upside down makes you read what you see as areas of various gray tones rather than as faces, buildings, trees, etc.
     
  16. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    "Spotting fluid"??? What means this "spotting fluid"? Doesn't everyone use run-of-the-mill water colors?
     
  17. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I do this too. Its great for getting concentrated ink on the end for dark areas as the pigment is more concentrated than when straight out of the bottle.
     
  18. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Same way I was taught to do it. It works much better than the alternative IMO. You can also set up a line of different tones on the palette by using different dilutions.
     
  19. chimneyfinder

    chimneyfinder Member

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    I have recently been using a solid block of ink that I bought from an art shop - it was in a calligraphy cabinet display and only £2.15. I load the brush with water, pick up some ink with it and create a smear of dark to light tones on a plastic sheet, (will start using the CD jewel case soon). As it dries I further draw out the ink to the right shade on the reverse of a print paper and spot as it is just damp enough to transfer. For some reason I have found this block of ink to be better than any wet medium using the same method, as it 'magically' blends into the paper: the surface trace is invisible at all but the most acutely lit angle. I'll be sticking with this and it will probably see me out.
    Mark Walker.
     
  20. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    If you do not want to lick the brush, you can dampen it on a sponge.
     
  21. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hi Tkamiya,

    You have found something very useful.

    I do something very similar. I make puddles of different dilutions of spotting fluid in a cheap plastic six-pocket palette.

    I dip a brush in the puddle and make a dotted spiral, hopefully using up the whole puddle and leaving a spattering of dots to dry up.

    When they are all dry, then I have a series of dry dots, each about a brushful. I'll wet the brush with water, draw it across a dry spot, and then draw on a scratch of test-strip... Then I go hunting for spots to fill in on the print with that tone.
     
  22. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for all the great tips and advice. Definitely gives me some new techniques to try. I do ok with spotting but have felt I could improve.

    Roger
     
  23. desi8888

    desi8888 Member

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  24. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    My technique is similar to what's been mentioned here. My saucer of dry spotone has lasted about a year, now. I keep it in a Tupperware container, when not in use, and dust it with a tissue before using. The one difference is, I use photo-flo, instead of water. Not sure where I picked up this tidbit (maybe Vestal?), but it works nicely.
     
  25. desi8888

    desi8888 Member

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  26. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Yes they are good. You can also get sets of colours if you want to colour tint Photographs.