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  1. #1

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    gum printers: what's your favorite black pigment?

    Hi!

    When I did my first gum prints I noticed a BIG difference in the general appearance and "dmax" when using readymade black colors like Windsor&Newton compared to mixing my own with pigment and gum arabic solution.

    Using the W&N tube color gave a less than attractive sheen to the final print, but using pure pigment in gum gave a deep and quite matt surface.

    The pigment we used was called "kimrök" by our teacher, the translation being "vine black", or possibly "blue black". The W&N color (or is it paint?) was Lamp Black.

    Now I'm shopping for my own pigments and there is so much to choose from! Ivory black, mars black, vine black... My head is spinning!

    I found the handprint site (wonderful site!) and did a bit of research. It seems vine black is not a "better black" than Mars black for instance, but rather a "historic" black.

    What (black) pigments are you gum printers out there using?

    Does Mars black work with gum printing?

    Thanks!

    Henning
    Last edited by timeUnit; 07-13-2007 at 06:12 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: didn't express myself clearly enough
    Be careful his bow tie is really a camera
    timeUnit

  2. #2

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    What is the "handprint site"? Can you give the link?

    "Kremer Pigmente" (link on my website) is a very good place for buying pigments.

    I so far used lamp black, ivory black, bone black, and a rare pigment from Kremer called "spinell black". The latter, they say, is the blackest of all, but, though it worked very well with casein (I never tried this one with gum), other pigments seem as good to me.

    Lamp black is sometimes thought to be prone to staining, but this seems to depend also on the quality/the batch. I am currently using a tube from Schmincke, works very well.

    Bone black from Kremer is a warmish black in single gum which is why I like it.

    I can, however, not subscribe to the thesis that self-mixed pigments are better than those in tubes. Both can be excellent, and those in tubes tend to be finer ground/distributed.

    Some time ago, I tried some cadmium colours from Kremer, and they wouldn't clear! I have no idea why, but when I used cadmium yellows from tubes, they worked perfectly on the same paper.

    By the way, if you do multiple gum in different colours, it is also a good idea with some colours to use a dark blue (thalo blue is a favourite of mine) for the last layer to emphasize the shadows.

  3. #3

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    Hi Lukas!

    Here's the handprint site. Lots (really LOTS) of info on pigments.

    http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/water.html

    I'm sorry, I didn't mean that ALL tubed colors are less good than self-mixed. I just meant that the particular black color was not so good, I used other colors from tubes that were fine.

    Thanks for the tip on the Kremer site, will check it out.

    Anyone who knows if Iron based black (Mars black) works with gum bichromate?
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    timeUnit

  4. #4

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    All blacks are not equal..try some Ivory Black
    Mike C

    Rambles

  5. #5
    Chazzy's Avatar
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    I'll be very interested to hear what Winsor and Newton blacks are recommended, since they are easy to get here in the United States.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzy View Post
    I'll be very interested to hear what Winsor and Newton blacks are recommended, since they are easy to get here in the United States.
    Windsor & Newton Ivory Black.
    I was suggested that this is the only black to use for gum printing as its the only one that wont stain. Yet still I am thick headed and tried out mars black and lamp black and, as you would guess, stained badly.

    So ... such was suggested to me, stick with ivory black (W&N)

  7. #7

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    Like photomc, my favorite black is ivory black; I like its transparency and warm tone. It can print quite black, or if the pigment/gum ratio is cut back a bit, a rich dark brown; see example of the dark brown:

    http://www.pacifier.com/~kthayer/html/kids.html

    The iron black pigment you're asking about, PBk11 (marketed by W&N as "mars black" and by Daniel Smith as "lunar black") works fine for gum, but it's not my first choice for black; in fact I've had a tube of the Daniel Smith version for years but never used it again after trying it out once. There's nothing "wrong" with it; I just prefer the warmer tone of the ivory black. If you're interested, I'll try to print the Mars black later today and post a sample.

    I'm somewhat mystified at the unattractive sheen reported with lamp black tube paint; I can't say I've seen anything like that. I don't use lamp black as a rule because I don't care for its opacity, but this is purely a subjective issue and has nothing to do with whether the pigment "works" or not. It works fine as long as it's used judiciously; this is one of those pigments where a little goes a long way.

    You had a good teacher; I admire her work.

  8. #8

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    Katharine,

    I don't know either why the sheen "happened". It might be that we used a "student" tube, i.e. the Cotman brand from W&N. But I'm not sure about that. It's more than a year ago, it might have been the Artists' brand.

    I might try the Mars black, as I'm looking for a cooler black.

    And yes, Chia is without a doubt a great printer. I'd say she's the best in Sweden. Seeing her prints in real life is wonderful. I'm very fortunate to have learned from her, and it's great to be able to get back to her and ask things when I've gotten into the printing again.
    Be careful his bow tie is really a camera
    timeUnit

  9. #9

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    PBk11 Sample

    As promised, here's a rough print made with iron black, (PBk 11, ferosoferic oxide; here as Daniel Smith "lunar black"). As you can see, it makes very neutral greys; it seems on the dull side to me, but that's just me. It's not a pigment I use a lot so I'm not entirely sure it's as saturated as it could be, although in the mix, it looked very saturated black, and I used more paint than I would need with either lamp black or ivory black to get a completely saturated mix.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails PBk11.jpg  

  10. #10

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    Maybe a bit OT...

    Here's a print I did with Chia. It's four colors: black, yellow, cyan, black+magenta. The black pigment was Chia's "kimrök", or vine black.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 0603F_ice_gum_web.jpg  
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    timeUnit

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