(T)issues – A note on pigment dispersion and chroma

I’ve been working with powdered pigments for a (brief) while now and as a result, I’m starting to come to grips with the pros and cons of this approach. Overall, it’s lots of fun – in fact, this is so far my favorite part of the color carbon project. But there are challenges also to this part. For instance, I recently ran into an issue of tissues that didn’t look quite as nice and shiny as they should. And that actually has implications that go far below the surface!

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How to ab-stain? Dichromate stain issues in carbon printing

No, I haven’t given up on the color carbon project. Yet! But there are challenges, and they can be, well, challenging. For one, I’m running into trouble with hue and chroma of the color layers and I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what happens. One probable cause is actually dichromate staining. Let me exstain. Err, explain.

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Fairy dust – Dry pigments for color carbon

Alright, I caved. I had been ogling the website of Kremer Pigmente for a few weeks and ultimately I decided to order some pigments from them. I think it actually makes sense, despite the warnings I was given by multiple people on the forums. After all, dry pigments are challenging to work with. Or so they say…

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Kinky curves – the linearization game, part 1

It’s starting to become a series of blogs, this color carbon project of mine. Not that I expected it to be easy, of course. Note the title of the first installment. I knew what I was heading into. And here we are, right in the middle of it all. Frankly, this is my least favorite part of a hybrid process: the struggle to get something that displays as e.g. 10% tone value on a computer screen to print as a 10% tone value on paper. In other words: linearization. Let me share my woes with you for a minute, while also briefly touching upon the topic of layer order and assembly of the color image.

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Baby steps – enter the torture test

No, I have not yet given up! In fact, I’ve been making some progress on the color carbon transfer front. Last time, I made some cyan, magenta and yellow tissue with my newly acquired paints. Only five 4×5″ sheets per color, which is ample for some initial testing. This testing is underway, results so far are promising, and there’s even some progress on the digital negatives front!

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All ye who enter here, abandon all hope

I mean, really, that title feels appropriate because I’ve started work on something that’s just extremely unlikely to work out well. Let’s face it – carbon transfer is challenging enough to begin with. Even I know that. Let alone doing it in color. Yes, you read that right: I must’ve gone mad. Carbon transfer, and not just black, but also C…M…and Y. It’s going to be either a long journey, or a frustrating one, or both. Let’s see.

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Tissue making – curl up and dye

Ok, sorry – inappropriate title again. Evidently, no dye is involved in carbon transfer tissue making. As far as I know, any attempt to add dye to tissue will cause staining of porous final supports, so it’s really pigments all the way. But the reference to the Blues Brothers movie was just too good to pass. Besides, the ‘curl up’ part is pretty accurate! Anyway, here’s part two of the blog I did earlier on making carbon transfer glop. With all the bubbles gone, it’s time to turn glop into tissue!

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Making glop – and some words on sugar, glycerin and ink

Glop, gloop, pigmented gelatin – whatever you name it: it’s that pretty awesome looking slithery stuff that forms the basis of a carbon transfer image. Looking at liquid, bubble-free glop at the right angle is a bit like staring into a black hole. It surprises me Anish Kapoor never caught onto it, really. Anyway, today is glop-making day again as I’m running out of 8×10 tissue. I took some pics and will (probably) follow up next time with tissue-making.

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Making black, making white

There are many things to like about carbon transfer printing (and at least as many to dislike about it…). One of them is that essentially, you’re making the black and the white separately and then marry them when making the actual transfer. The black is the tissue, the white is the final support. Combined, they make for a continuous tone image. Pretty neat if you consider that they start out as pure black and pure white!

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