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  1. #1

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    Pigments for carbon printing

    I have read a lot of stuff and there is not a lot about pigment differences or amounts.

    I will stay away from dry pigments but was wondering what alternatives are out there.

    Here is what I have found so far

    India ink
    Sumi Ink
    Black cat
    Carbon black water color paint.

    all seem to work well but some people like one over the other for what seem like personal reasons.

    What do you folks use and what amounts?
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    I like the watercolors in tubes. I like the gloss I get (not very glossy, but not matte). The carbon seems to be very finely ground and disperses in the gelatin nicely with no oily residue.

    I use to use Sumi ink until I finally finished the bottle -- then I could not get the same results with the next bottle (grainy images).

    I found that different brands definitely had different pigment loads in them, so I found it best to stick to one brand. I am using 4 to 5 grams for a 750ml batch of glop when using Grahams lampblack watercolor...which is a fairly light load (0.5 to 0.7%). I sometimes add a little Burnt Sienna to it also, but I have backed off of the amount as the prints were getting to warm.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  3. #3

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    Hi Mark,

    I'm still fairly new to Carbon printing, so can't offer a lot of experience, but I've been using watercolours for my glop recipe. I've tried four different brands of watercoours at 6g - 10g per litre of glop. I haven't done extensive testing, but so far I like the look of the Graham Lamp Black and the Windsor & Newton Lamp Black.

    Hope that helps.

    Craig
    Please note, no digital photographers were harmed in the posting of this message.

    My Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/58094723@N02/
    (you can just ignore the digital images)

  4. #4
    Hexavalent's Avatar
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    "Royal India Ink" is my go-to pigment. It has a warm black tone, medium gloss and is $ cheap.
    With wc paints, I always disperse in water, mixing very thoroughly, sometimes with the addition of a drop of detergent or photo-flo. This procedure seems to lessen, if not eliminate grain/clumps.
    - Ian

  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    With the disclaimer that I haven't done carbon myself yet, let me offer a little free advert for a company that I adore: Kremer Pigments. They seem to have every conceivable pigment, including some rare 'historical' ones, and they also make very handy sample books. I have quite a lot of stuff from them and recommend them very highly.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  6. #6

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    Nice supply there kieth. The problem is they are dry pigments. I will keep them in mind but I don't want to start with dry. From what I have gathered the dry pigments can be pretty touchy, and it is much better to start with pigment that is in a liquid state.

    I hope to get to the point where I can use dry pigments as well as paper that I have sized myself, maybe even made myself.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  7. #7

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    Not all of them are dry. They have a line of pigment concentrate dispersions. They call them "color paste". They're either aqueous or glycol dispersions, depending on the pigment.

    Synthetic Organic Pigments:
    http://kremerpigments.com/shopus/ind...&list=01030103

    Mineral Pigments:
    http://kremerpigments.com/shopus/ind...NG&list=010105

    Thinking about trying at least the lamp black once I run out of watercolor. $9 for 75 grams ($25 for 250g / $60 for 1kg and you're set for life!)

    --Greg

  8. #8

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    Thanks I did not see those.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  9. #9
    keithwms's Avatar
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    They have everything. I mean it, lapis lazuli in whale snot is probably there... if you don't see it call and they will help you.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  10. #10

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    Hi Mark,

    I grind my own pigments (from raw soot in general). With the grief it gives me, I can highly recommend using pigments from a tube! I also size and sometimes make my own paper. Time spent using good quality pigment from a tube and transferring to a well behaved substrate (such as fixed out photo paper) will allow you to perfect your technique; if your technique is not good then using difficult pigments or sizing/making your own paper will cause no-end of failures. As there are so many ways to mess up, gaining a good understanding of how all the variables interact is really important. I find one of the greatest helps to getting consistent results is to keep really detailed notes on my experiments (i.e. quantities, times, temperatures, humidities etc.)

    If you do decide to use dry pigments, take time to disperse them well into a liquid before adding the gelatine glop. I ball-mill my soot to get it really fine first, then grind it in a pestle and mortar with a few drops of warm gelatine glop until I get a thick goo. I then add more glop a few drops at a time and keep grinding etc until the soot is all dispersed well. I then pass it through a fine filter to remove any lumps that may remain. Be aware that some pigments do not work well with 'modern' glop recipes (soot is a good example of a difficult pigment); I am using an old soap-based glop formula (real soap, not detergent) that works really well with soot as without the soap it misbehaves. Interestingly many of the tube-based pigments do not work well in the soap-based glop.

    The quantities of dry pigment vary depending on what the pigment is and how finely it is ground. My grinding can be considered very coarse compared to tube paint so my pigment load varies from 20g/litre to 100g of dry soot per litre of glop (no, I have not added a zero by mistake!). With the really coarse grinds and at 100g/litre, the tissue is high contrast and has little relief, but feels a bit like sandpaper.

    There are no rules really, do not be afraid to experiment (but of course let us know what you find out!).

    Best regards,

    Evan

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