September 21, 2023


How Art Works

Printmaking With Metallic Ink – Jackson’s Artwork Weblog

9 min read

Printmaking with metallic ink could be an alluring choice for including glamour and iridescent shine to your prints. As we stay deep in winter within the Northern hemisphere and are drawn to glimmers of sunshine within the darkness, we mirror on the lustre and shine of metallic inks and their use in printmaking.



Deeply bitten etching plate


The Historical past of Printmaking with Metallic Ink

All through historical past, metallic inks or powders have been utilized in printmaking to reinforce colors or add standing to the print as an object. Gold, representing divine mild or wealth and luxurious, was added to sculptures, work, and manuscripts within the type of metallic leaf.



In printmaking, metallic pigments had been used together with copper, aluminium, and zinc. These had been mixed to type the alloys brass and tin which stood in for gold and silver. For millennia, the mineral mica has been utilized by artists and artisans for its shine and sparkle. Kirazuri (雲母摺り) is the Japanese technique of printing with mica. Blended in or added after, the iridescent mica powder created shimmering, luminous areas throughout the printed picture. It may improve a spotlight or add glamour to a portrait’s background. In a sub-genre of Ukyo-e woodblock printmaking referred to as Surimono, particular prints had been commissioned for personal possession which may embody actual metallic pigments and mica to beautify a print and signify exclusivity.



What’s Metallic Printmaking Ink Made From In the present day?

In contrast to the mined mineral, at the moment mica is manufactured from artificial fluorphlogopite and coated with all method of colourants and oxides to provide a myriad of glittery pigments and pearlescent powders which expands on the properties of the naturally occurring mineral. Metallic pigments from actual metals don’t comprise any inherent sparkle. Floor all the way down to spherical particles they create an opaque, uninteresting impact, however within the type of tiny flakes or ‘leaflets’, they’ll mirror mild in a number of instructions and create shine and reflectivity.


Shut up of etching printed with Akua Intaglio Gold


Cranfield Conventional Etching Ink in Gold



Intaglio Printing in Silver and Gold Metallic Inks

Right here at Jackson’s, we inventory two forms of metallic ink for Intaglio, Cranfield Conventional Etching Ink, and Akua Intaglio Ink. Every producer has designed an ink to suit inside their respective ranges. Cranfield use true metallic flaked pigments in a linseed oil base to create a conventional oil-based intaglio ink. Because of the sort of metallic pigments Cranfield favor, they haven’t formulated a Caligo Secure Wash etching model, in fact there is no such thing as a motive why the Conventional Etching metallics can’t be used alongside the Caligo Secure Wash inks, you’ll simply want to stick to the respective clean-up processes. Akua Intaglio inks are soya oil primarily based and use metallised, or coated, mica pigments, sustaining the water washable properties of the ink. Facet by aspect the inks seem and behave fairly in a different way.


Cranfield Conventional Etching Silver RJE7500887 and Akua Intaglio Ink Metallic Silver.


Etching Inks are historically fairly stiff with a number of pigment load and fewer tackiness than aid inks. This permits the ink to be pushed into the traces and for it to stay there whereas the surplus is wiped off the plate’s floor. The incised traces can differ enormously and right here I’ve used three plates to incorporate a really high-quality etched line, a deeper, wider etched line, and an acrylic spray aquatint.


Cranfield Conventional Etching Ink in Gold and Akua Intaglio Ink in Metallic Gold printing the deep line etching plate.


Cranfield’s Conventional Etching Metallic Inks are a stiff ink, and really feel a little bit tackier than different colors throughout the vary. The metallic pigments are inherently drying, due to this fact it’s not really useful that you just wipe on a warming plate or go away the ink sitting on the plate for an prolonged interval. Cranfield recommend including a really small quantity of Straightforward Wipe compound to help wiping. I did discover if I added an excessive amount of, it dulled the metallic look of the ink, so testing is suggested. I discovered wiping with butter muslin after an preliminary scrim wipe helped a terrific deal. The color and tone of the gold and silver had been sturdy and held nicely within the most interesting of traces. The crisp leaf pigments of Cranfield Conventional Etching metallics mirror from the embossed printed line to create a gilded look. On a white paper the tones had been sturdy with the gold giving a copper color and the silver giving a deep metallic graphite color.



Akua Intaglio ink is a really tender ink that makes plate wiping a dream, the truth is no scrim is required – after scraping the surplus ink off the plate, you may merely skip to a newsprint wipe for the remaining. These inks differ in the truth that they seem as a glittery suspension within the oil provider. The printed traces had been softer with the metallic particles extra seen. The metallic particles did have a tendency to interrupt freed from the ink, so discovered their method onto the wiped plate floor and sometimes onto the non-print areas of the picture. On the very high-quality etching the gold pigment had bother moving into the traces of the plate, however total, the ink gave a fragile print with a little bit extra sparkle than the Cranfield.

Cleansing up each works in the identical method as the opposite colors of their respective ranges, I did nonetheless discover the Akua metallics tougher to take away with simply washing detergent and water so resorted to some printmakers cleaner to assist.



Reduction Printing in Silver Metallic Inks

Given the massive recognition of aid printing, there are numerous ink manufacturers accessible, with a number of together with metallics of their ranges. At Jackson’s we’ve got metallic inks by Cranfield, Akua, Essdee and Schmincke that embody conventional oil primarily based, water-washable oil in addition to water-based inks for paper. In contrast to intaglio, aid printing transfers a bigger quantity of ink onto the paper, and since we apply it with a curler, a tackier ink is required. The aid block will switch a flat layer of ink to the paper, so I assumed it price exploring the thought of utilizing an undertone color to see if any enhancement of the metallic high quality may very well be achieved. The strategy of putting undertones below metallics is common, for instance a pink or yellow below gold and a black or blue below silver is assumed so as to add richness to the metallic leaf or metallic paint above. When utilizing this concept in printmaking, correct registration can be required.



Schmincke Aqua Linoprint inks embody silver, gold and copper and are manufactured utilizing colored pearl mica pigments. The silver is barely tinted with graphite (PBk10) – Schmincke say with out the gray element it might be pearlescent and a little bit too clear to essentially seem like silver. The inks are gum arabic primarily based with a excessive pigment load. The silver has good opacity on each black and white paper, printing over a black undertone color didn’t seem to extend the metallic high quality, nonetheless a double layer of the silver retained the tone however enhanced the reflectivity of the ink. This second layer of silver was utilized instantly over the primary earlier than it was dry. Schmincke’s three metallics, in addition to the pearl medium could be combined with “regular” Aqua Linoprint colors to acquire metallic variants of all the colors within the vary.



Essdee Block Printing Inks embody a spread of metallics and pearlescent colors utilising mica versus metallic pigments. They describe them as mineral pigment powders with metallic oxide coatings which give a metallic color and look. The silver ink prints as a good-looking, sparkly pewter and a double layer once more enhances the opacity and reflectivity of the ink. On black paper or a black undertone the ink appeared fairly translucent with a delicate sparkle of mica particles.



Akua Intaglio Inks are multipurpose, so in addition to being glorious for intaglio and collagraph, they are often rolled out and used for monoprinting and aid. These water washable inks as talked about earlier than, comprise coated mica pigments in a soya-oil base. The Akua silver printed with a mild sheen and a fragile translucency. I discovered including some opaque white was an choice so as to add some opacity on black paper, nonetheless once more, finest outcomes come from a double layer of ink enhancing its metallic look.



Identical to their etching vary, Cranfield has chosen a conventional oil-based formulation for his or her metallic aid inks, with real flaked metallic pigments. Printing by hand burnishing, though nice on lighter papers, turns into more difficult on heavier weights. This increased tack ink will yield higher outcomes on heavier papers when printed utilizing a press. The physique of the ink holds up below printing strain to offer a crisp picture and a double layer does improve the opacity for a real metallic shine. It was with this ink that I discovered printing over a black undertone to work finest with correct registration achievable because of the added tackiness of the oil primarily based formulation. The consequence gave a three-dimensional high quality with the stable metallic silver actually sitting within the foreground.

Whichever inks you select in your aid printing, drying and clear up will differ not solely between ranges, however inside ranges additionally. Drying occasions must account for temperature, humidity, absorption of paper and the way thickly the ink is utilized. When cleansing you’ll want to be careful for mica particles breaking freed from the ink and transferring to different surfaces.


Screenprinting with Metallic Inks

As all the time in printmaking, variables rely, together with paper sort, ink layers, and in display screen printing, the mesh rely of the display screen. Metallic inks have giant particles of pigment and carry out higher with a coarser mesh rely, a 77T (196US) mesh is really useful for display screen printing metallics on paper. The inks could be printed by finer mesh, however the metallic impression can be diminished. Printing metallics over an undertone color is far more frequent in display screen printing. Though you’ll not see the undertone color, it could possibly add heat or coolness, enriching the gold or silver above.


Aqua Artwork Matt Black, Aqua Artwork Silver over Black, Aqua Artwork Silver


Aqua Artwork Matt Black, Aqua Artwork Silver over Black, Aqua Artwork Silver


Above you may see a silver ink half printed over a layer of undertone black and half instantly on to paper. It’s shinier over the black than the place it sits instantly on the paper. You may as well print an preliminary layer of clear base, then print your metallic over that. This may assist the ink sit on the floor of the print and improve its reflectivity.

The 2 ready-to-use display screen inks for paper we inventory are Aqua Artwork Water Primarily based Display Ink and Daler Rowney System 3 Screenprinting Acrylic. The pigments used are metallised micas since each are water-based programs. The Aqua Artwork gold prints very opaque by a 77T(196US) mesh, so a single pull is adequate to create a stable look of true metallic. The color enriching impact of the pink undertone seems marginal consequently, nonetheless printing over a primary layer of ink, be that an undertone or a clear base, will increase the reflectivity of the gold and enhances its metallic shine.



Aqua Artwork Gold over clear base


Aqua Artwork Gold over undertone pink


Aqua Artwork Gold over clear base and undertone pink on Fabriano Artistico


The Daler Rowney gold acrylic for display screen has a tender, sparkly look. The brilliant mica pigments mirror nicely on a darkish background however on white there’s some translucency to it. Squeegeeing a second ‘pull’ of ink by will assist with this. Nonetheless, when printing instantly onto a white paper, a second layer printed when the primary layer of gold is dry will actually add opacity.


Daler Rowney Gold in a single layer over undertone pink and clear base


Daler Rowney Gold in a double layer over undertone pink and clear base


Given the translucency of the Daler Rowney ink, making use of an undertone base color will considerably affect its last look and so widen the scope for printing many variations of gold.



Printmaking with metallic inks will all the time add an additional dimension to your work, whether or not you select to make them shine as a foreground component or subtly improve areas in a extra naturalistic method, I hope the above article offers some helpful pointers for exploring them.



Additional Studying

Getting Began in Screenprinting Utilizing Paper Stencils

Gold Gilding Course of With Tuesday Riddell

All the things You Must Know About Printmaking Paper

Jackson’s Metallic Drawing Inks on Black Khadi Watercolour Paper


Store Metallic Printmaking Inks on


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