advice spotting prints
OK, Ive made my first 11x14 prints from 35mm negatives.
White spots from dust on the negative really stand out on this size enlargement.
So I went to the photo store and they reccomended to get a set of spotting pens instead of ink. (ouch the pens were $35 vs $5 for the ink!)
So I'm trying out the pens on some extra prints and it seems to be much harder than it should be. here are my issues:
-the pens leave a 'drop' of ink at the end of the stroke. The 'drop' of ink seems darker than what the pen is labeled with. So I could 'dab' the pens on the spots, but places where there is a white line from a fiber, I guess i will have to use a cotton swab to soak up the drop at the end.
-the ink is translucent. This is a real pain, cause if I miss the white spot at all, it adds density to the surrounding area. I end up with a dark dot right next to the white dot. This happens even if use a lighter shade than the surrounding area. Again it adds density.
OK I was getting really frustrated. Any advice will be appreciated.
Spot-tone to match your paper. #3 is best for most.
A pice of old paper
Spit... yes spit
Shake bottle (slightly) take off lid.... put open bottle in another room (if not you will spill it on your nice print)
Use fine bush to to get spot-tone from lid, and mix with spit and build up the tones to match. Don't do it all at once.
You can buy two sable brushes and a bottle of spot-tone for less than those markers and if you don't spill the spot-tone it will last forever.
Tiny, tiny dots!
Don't try to spot out the white areas with a single large application.
Instead, fill in the white areas with lots and lots of almost imperceptible little dots of dye.
Keep the pens moving as you lightly touch the area over and over - a figure 8 pattern of small movements works well.
It is generally better to spot too little.
The pens work well once you get used to them - and if you apply the tone this way the pens will last a very long time.
I could never get used to the pens. In my opinion, spotting dyes are the way to go! Spotone is unfortunately no longer with us, Marshall's works just as well. I have made my own from China Ink sticks and wouldn't hesitate to use good fountain pen ink as well.
I can offer this read on the subject:
and some interesting facts about fountain pen inks:
I suggest the following action list, sorted by my preference:
1. Get used Spotone #3 and #2 if you sulfide tone your images.
2. Get the Marshall's equivalent (still available).
3. make your own using an ink stick.
4. Use black fountain pen ink.
But whatever you do, don't use products with egg-white (such as Schmincke). They are also expensive and do not soak into the emulsion but end up sitting on top of the print where they are shiny and easily detectable.
I find you can get much better control using the dyes (not the markers) dry. Use an eye dropper to put a drop or two on a small paint palette and let it dry overnight. Wet your brush and get just a litlle dye from the dish. It is easier to control than wet dye from the bottle.
Print spotting is an 'ART ', it takes a while to get the hang of it .
( it is much better to spend your time ' removing the dust from the negative before printing ' ) . However now that you have these ' white spots ' they are best removed with almost dry spotting using a very fine camel-hair brush - size 0 , or 00 , and ' spotone '. Make up a palette of the color about the size of your small finger nail on a piece of white china / glass or a white section of a glossy print scrap , then make a second small pool of color from this one with a drop of water to dilute the color, and a third pool from the 2nd. one also diluted, etc. It is from these sample pools that you dip your brush, then wipe it almost dry on a test strip and compare the color to your real print.You will be amaized how a small dob that is both smaller and lighter than your 'white spot ' makes the spot disappear. Using a 3X magbifier also helps.
I have a piece of glossy fibre base processed printing paper peppered with dobs of black and gray spotone that has dried hard and each piece comes alive with a small drop of water from my brush each time I have to spot.
A little bit of spotting material goes a long way .
I hope this helps........... Cheers Barrie B.
I use Marshalls' dyes. A day before I am going to spot, I take a drop of the dye and put it in a place of my palette. Put one or two drops of water let dry overnight. It will dry up and form a very thin layer of dye. Bottom is the thinnest and goes darker as it goes up the wall of the palette.
Next day, I take my very small spotting brush and barely wet it with water. I pick up the right shade of the thin die from dried up dye I made yesterday. Brush lightly on spare piece of paper and make sure the density is right. More importantly, I make sure the brush is not too wet. For me, having the brush just barely moist but mostly dry works the best. Also, if too dry, bristles separate so it needs to be a bit wetter than that.
Spot, spot, spot. Look. Repeat if necessary. I typically wait for 5 minutes after all done and review my work.
Letting the dye dry first in this fashion allows me to pickup very minute amount of the material easily, accurately, and repeatably. I can exercise far more control than diluting it on the spot.
If I really mess it up, I wash the print again and dry, then repeat.
Pointillism. As in Georges Seurat.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Except you're making much smaller dots and you only have one color to work with.
Basically, you're trying to mimic the random pattern of the film grains that make up the image.
Put a drop of spotting dye in the middle of a white saucer then put the rest of the bottle away. Dip the brush in clear water and make a small puddle of water mixed with dye part way out to the rim. Make another puddle of water and dye using the mixture from the previous puddle. Successive dilution...get it?
Blot the brush dry on a piece of paper towel then dip just the tip of the brush in the (successively diluted) puddle of dye that most closely matches the area that you want to spot over. Make some test dots on a scrap piece of photographic paper that is the same as the kind as your print is made on. This is a good thing to use some of your test strips for. Continue to make diluted or concentrated mixtures of dye/water, testing them on your scrap paper until you are satisfied with your color match.
The ability to dilute your dye to get an exact match is where liquid dye and brush win out over spotting pens. You can also choose your brush so you can make the exact size of dots you want.
When you've diluted your dye to match your print and have had a practice session, it's time to channel Georges Seurat and have at your print.
Strangely, it's not as hard as it sounds but it takes time to get the hang of it.
Make a couple of duplicate prints in case you aren't satisfied with the result of the first. I suppose you could wash the dye out, dry the print again and start over but what the hell... You should make yourself a reference print anyway. Right?
Folks, the OP already has the pens. He may as well learn to use them.
Personally, I like them, because they work well for me.
I've also used Dr. Ph. Martin's ink, usually available at arts & crafts stores. It can be used as others above have described using Spotone.