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  1. #1

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    Van Dyke process

    Hi. I'm brand new here at this site. And I'm brand new to alternative processes. I want to try the Van Dyke process first. I have read the article by Wynn White but it assumes somethings I've not learned yet. I would love to hear from you, especially about applying the emulsion to paper. I have some Archer water color paper I was going to try it out on. Thanks in advance.
    Eston Mansfield

  2. #2
    DarkroomDan's Avatar
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    Eston,

    Both the Unblinking Eye and Alternative Photography sites are good sources for information and "how to" articles. There is an article on methods for coating paper here .

    I used to do quite a bit of Van Dyke printing and tried both a rod and a hake brush. I settled on using the brush. The easiest way to learn to do it is just to do it. It really is easy to make a print. Consistently getting good prints is a bit harder but learning how to do it is part of the fun.

    There are several people here on APUG who are experienced in Van Dyke printing. The articles on the other sites are a good starting point but, for specific questions, I am sure you will find help here.

    Dan
    Daniel Williams
    Enumclaw WA USA

  3. #3

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    I've printed my own fair share on Van Dyke prints.. I can tell you what worked for me.
    I started with cyanotype, but honestly they aren't that similar. What worked for me with cyanotypes didn't work well for van dykes.

    I use Crane's Kid Finish Ecru White stationary paper. $11 for a box. Once I tried this I stopped looking for any other paper.

    I use a cheap 1" flat watercolor brush to apply the solution. $6 at an arts and crafts store, works perfectly fine.

    I always add 1 drop of glycerin to the solution before coating the paper. It seems to make it easier to coat the paper. I also wet the brush with water first and lightly brush the paper to get it slightly damp.

    If the paper is slightly damp, along with the glycerin.. it applies much more evenly and easily (at least for me).

    I use cough syrup measuring cups, 5cc/10cc syringes with blunt tips, etc. to dispense the solution.
    Sometimes I do two coats; I let the first coat dry halfway, while slightly damp I apply the next coat.
    Often times I only need one coat.

  4. #4

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    I got here because of "Unblinking Eye" lol. The link to coating the paper is great. Has anyone tried the first solution at all, the one where you lay the paper on top of the solution. And Yes it looks like learning by doing is going to be the best way. What temperature do you recommend for mixing the solutions?Nobody seems to touch on that yet.

    Phil's suggestions make a lot of sense to me. Would photo-flo work, too to break the surface tension of the solution. I don't even know if Photo-Flo is even still available.

  5. #5

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    Photo flo would thin it out but I dont recall it helping much as far as lubrication goes. Glycerin is all over the place, $3-4 will buy a jug. Cake decorators use it to preserve to color of their frosting. It's handy stuff.
    I believe they still make it. If it's not available at some point, i'll be using jetdri. Or tween.

    I used to add photo-flo to my cyanotype. It never helped me much. My method for that was similar, except I use a foam brush. A nice wide one.
    I still mix the glycerine in, 1 - 4 drops depending on the surface of the paper, it it's watercolor, etc.

    Strathmore400 is my saving grace as far as cyanotypes go. Those little 4x6" sketchbooks are perfect for it.
    Unfortunately the paper has been an iffy choice for van dykes.. I tried sizing with knox gelative, arroroot starch, cornstarch... then I heard of Cranes Kid Finish Ecru White..
    Phil's suggestions make a lot of sense to me. Would photo-flo work, too to break the surface tension of the solution. I don't even know if Photo-Flo is even still available.

  6. #6

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    Before I make that mistake, why is "sizing" so important? I would have thought that you would want the emulsion solution to penetrate the paper, mabe achieve a deeper richer saturation/color from actually being imbedded in the paper. And while we're on the subject, can you pre-size the paper and store it for coating with the emulsion at a later date?

  7. #7

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    My understanding is that you don't want to penetrate the paper as the image will either be unsharp/fuzzy, or if it penetrates too far the image will print straight through the paper and will look funny.. I don't like sizing, I try to find papers that don't require it. I have stored sized papers for about a week or so (gelatine and arrowroot) with no major problems.

    If you want a deeper/richer look coat it's usually best to coat twice.
    I've stored presensitized paper (VDB and cyanotype) for an afternoon. By the end of the day it was just about unusable. I like to keep it wrapped up in aluminum foil. It does seem to keep better wrapped in foil then placed in a ziplock bag.

    VDB is pretty easy but it's 'hard'.. I don't know, my problems come up as soon as I fix the image. I always used the fix straight.. I was never sure if I had to dilute this to working strength.

    Occasionally i'd get bits of metal, etc. on my prints. banding, splotching.
    The next print (processed the same way) would be perfect.
    Some would be warm light brown/orange, others would be the warm dark chocolately brown that you'd kill for in a RC or FB paper + toning (even when coated and processed the same way!)

    I'm not sure but I think humidity plays a key..
    It's as easy or difficult as you make it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eston3 View Post
    Before I make that mistake, why is "sizing" so important? I would have thought that you would want the emulsion solution to penetrate the paper, mabe achieve a deeper richer saturation/color from actually being imbedded in the paper. And while we're on the subject, can you pre-size the paper and store it for coating with the emulsion at a later date?

  8. #8
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    Arches Aquarelle Hot Plate or Satin is very good for van dykes - it is sized so you do not need additional sizing. I recommend you to go for a good watercolor "wash" brush made with synthetic hairs. I use 2" brush for 8x10 prints.

  9. #9

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    When sizing a paper, is gelatin that you by in the supermarket what I should use? And back to the question before; Will gelatin sized paper "keep" until I decide to put an emulsion on it?

  10. #10
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    There are a lot of papers that don't need sizing. I'd stick to those for now. I mostly use Arches Platine or ClearPrint Vellum. I've used Stonehenge Rising also. Take a look at the Kallitype article on unblinkingeye.com for paper recommendations too.

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