Mixing lamp black powder with water for carbon print tissue

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by grzybu, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. grzybu

    grzybu Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi,

    I want to start to experiment with carbon printing, so I've ordered gelatin, alcohol and lamp black powder from local alternative photography store.
    I'm still waiting for the package but I've started to wondering how I'm going to mix soot with water and gelatin?
    I guess it's not going to be simplest thing in the process. Is there any easy way to do this or should I leave it and buy tube with ivory black watercolor paint?
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,244
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    First make a paste of the lampblack and then thin this with water as needed, If you just dump lampblack in water it will float on the surface and not mix with the water. Many powdered chemicals that are not easily wet by water do this. Another example would be powdered boric acid.
     
  3. chrisaisenbrey

    chrisaisenbrey Member

    Messages:
    113
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Location:
    Kehl/Strasbo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hello,

    Making a good dispersion of the black is indeed essential for carbon printing.
    I use a glass plate and a “glass muller” (from art supply). For carbon printing I use the glycerin to make the dispersion. It is a little more viscous.
     
  4. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,163
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    Coquitlam, B
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Since you are just starting out, my advice to you would be to forget about soot for now and go with lamp black water colour paint, or even easier, India ink.
     
  5. grzybu

    grzybu Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    India ink seems easiest way to start. Will it be a problem if it's mixed with shellac? I can see only such ones here in Poland.

    Edit:
    I see I can buy Winsor & Newton: "Liquid Indian Ink which is the traditional formula of the Chinese sticks and is not water-proof, and Black Indian Ink which uses a shellac binder".
    I understand Liquid Indian Ink without shellac should be better or it doesn't really matter?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2014
  6. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,916
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Location:
    Ye Olde England
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If you can get the Winsor & Newton Indian Ink, I would recommend using it - When I have done carbon printing in the past, I have had excellent results with it.

    edit: W&N also do a range of Calligraphy inks which are not waterproof - might be worth looking at if you want a colour other than black.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2014
  7. grzybu

    grzybu Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do you mean Liquid Indian Ink which is not waterproof (without shellac) or Black Indian Ink with shellac?
    Liquid Indian Ink seems more reasonable because it seems to contain only carbon and water.
     
  8. richard ide

    richard ide Member

    Messages:
    1,227
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Location:
    Wellington C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Use the ink with no shellac. A better choice would be lamp black watercolour as there is a much higher amount of pigment and very little liquid.
     
  9. grzybu

    grzybu Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    OK, thanks. I'm still waiting for other stuff needed for making tissues, but now at least I know what pigment to buy in artist supply store.
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,305
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I find watercolor paint in tubes to be a very easy material to work with. Someday I will have to try the various inks. It has been 16 or so years since I have used Sumi ink...first bottle was great, the second bottle clumped and gave grainy images so I stopped using it.

    I use it by the gram -- the liquid ink can probably be used by volume, but by weight is easy if one has a decent scale.

    The watercolors are nice because the pigments are already nicely ground and evenly dispersed in gum arabic. I measure out the amount I need in the plastic 35mm film containers, then add about 20ml of warm water, put on the lid and give it a good shake. I leave it for awhile (while the gelatin is being prepared) and by the time I need to pour it into the gelatin, it is nicely mixed with the water. Sometimes I will add a little alcohol to the container to get rid of bubbles from the shaking before I add it to the gelatin. Watercolors are also nice for slight adjustments of color. I sometimes add a little Burnt Sienna to the lampblack to warm it up a little.
     
  11. grzybu

    grzybu Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yesterday I've tried to make my first tissue using ivory black watercolor paint in tube. It mixed nicely with gelatin and tissue looks fine. Tonight I'm going to sensitize it and try my first carbon print :wink:
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,305
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I found Ivory Black to be much warmer and weaker (in pigment concentration/opacity) than Lampblack. But so much depends on the brand. Good luck!

    Vaughn

    PS -- depending on your RH, I found I needed 48 hours to dry freshly poured tissue at general room temp (with a fan on the tissues for the first 12 hours). Our RH usually ranges from 60 to 70%. If you do sensitize and print tonight, incomplete dried tissues might give some mottleing in your prints (probably due to un-even absorption of the sensitizer).
     
  13. grzybu

    grzybu Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for all advises.
    I've tried Ivory Black watercolor paint in tube. It mixed very well but it's quite weak. I've added about 8ml per 100ml gelatin and tissue wasn't really black. To get deep black I'd have to use whole 15ml tube.
    So I've tried to mix lamp black powder with water and it was much easier than I've expected. I've took 2g of powder and added water drop by drop until I've got nice mud. It mixed with 100ml gelatin really nice and tissue is deep black.
    Unfortunately I've overexposed this tissue by at least two steps but it looks very promising with really deep black and clear highlights.
    Relief is almost not visible and whole picture is completely matte. Looks like nothing I've saw already. Like very fine velvet.
    It will take few more tries until I got predictable results.