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  1. #1

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    India Ink & Gum Arabic for Spotting

    I've been using spotone and Marshall's retouching dyes for spotting prints. Lately, I've had to do a lot of spotting. I'm worried that the dyes will fade and/or change color over time, especially with exposure to light. I've heard that spotone slowly turns bluish. In any case, I've heard about people using india ink (which I think is a pigment and not a dye) and gum arabic for spotting. Does anyone have experience with this? If so, could you describe the process? I'm alos open to other suggestions. I'm spotting glossy, air-dried, fiber-based prints.

    Thanks,
    Peter

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Weston did this, and the one thing I know about it is that he would adjust the amount of gum arabic to match the gloss of the paper.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    I have used Japanese Sumi ink for my B&W spotting for years. An elderly portrait photographer turned me on to it.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  4. #4
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    I've used Spotone for nearly 20 years and have not had it go blue on me. I don't dilute it as suggested in the instructions, I shake the bottle and lift the dye straight from the cap perhaps that's why it hasn't turned blue.

    Hi Peter, it's nice to see that you found APUG, I know you'll enjoy it.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  5. #5

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    Thanks to all who've responded. Neal, why do you prefer Sumi ink? I must admit to not knowing what it is. Les, it's good to run into you, so to speak. I'm glad to hear that Spotone has held up well in your experience. That makes me feel a little more confident. I'm in the process of putting together a family album of 8x11.5 inch FB prints. While I expect that no one will want to keep my "artsy" prints all that long, I hope that this'll stay in the family for generations. Since the prints won't be displayed on a wall, I'm hoping that the Spotone will hold up. The prints will be dry-mounted to 1 ply museum board, which will in turn be in placed poly sleeves inside a Light Impressions archival album.

  6. #6

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    In the print by AAin the appendix p.196 he tell you how Weston mixed and used the ink and gum arabic. I would practice with it though, it seems to act different then spot tone.

  7. #7
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Peter,
    Sumi is a Japanese ink that generally comes in a nicely decorated stick form. To use it, wet the end and then rub it on a small piece of glass (I use non-glare because it has a bit of "tooth" to it) then use the rest of the glass as a pallet, drawing out the ink and thinning it with a wet brush for use.

    I haven't used dyes for a long while so it is difficult to compare but using ink is a different technique of putting it down and picking it up with the tip of your brush to make it match the surrounding print. Once you get into the groove, you can go all over the print very quickly, even touching out scratches that run through light and dark tones with ease. I rarely have to go back to the pallet unless I have to work on extremely light or dark tones.

    It dries flat and you can see your work if you view the print by glare light but is unnoticable under normal viewing conditions. Using Gum Arabic to match the gloss of the print sounds interesting and I'll probably give it a try. (amazing, the stuff that you pick up on APUG)
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  8. #8

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    Good Evening, Neal,

    Interesting! What's a good source for the Sumi ink?

    Konical

  9. #9
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Art stores. Ether on the web or fairly well stocked brick and morter.

    A small stick is a lifetime supply for you and all your ancestors and their friends and neighbors, I don't remember buying mine but it was probably at Pearl Paint long before the internet existed.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  10. #10

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    As far as I know arabic gum is an acid substance, therefore not adequated for spotting, matting etc. Although EW has used it, that doesn't mean a good thing.
    sergio caetano

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