Monday, August 27, 2012

Pronto Plates--they are magical

Mary Hunter and Catherine Small having a good time.
(Step one of printmaking, have fun!)
I attended a workshop on pronto plates (or Polyester Plate Lithography) on Friday at the WPA studio, and I have to admit, I'm going to add them to my technique arsenal. They are soooo easy. Luckily I was able to pull from my lithography knowledge of yesteryear, and caught on quickly. I took some notes, which I'll try and decipher and jot down here for you. The workshop will be scheduled again soon. Feel free to email me at csavage at savageartist dot com and I'll keep you in the loop if you want to get in on it.

Mylar painted with diluted ink, sharpies
First we uploaded a jpeg of our image to Photoshop and we simply reversed the image. Those that were doing color separation changed the file to CMYK (Image>Mode>CMYK). We did not use a filter to give the image a dot pattern, and we simply printed our image onto a pronto plate using a laser printer. The printer had nice, fresh toner and the images were printed at 600dpi. For my image, I drew onto frosted mylar with a thin sharpie, then added diluted ink with a paintbrush. I took a pic of my mylar and imported it into Photoshop. Here's a pic of my lovely ink wash.

Next step, add a dollop of gum arabic to some water (about 1 Tbs:large salad bowl of water--2 quarts?). Use a regular kitchen sponge, place in water/gum arabic mixture, squeeze out excess, wipe your plate. Ink. Oh, I forgot to mention ink. Mix regular oil-based etching ink with sets well until you have a nice relief roll kinda feel. OK, now you're good to go. Wipe plate with sponge, roll with ink, wipe with sponge, roll with ink. I noticed it took several rolls of ink before I felt like it was ready to be printed. (Subsequent prints required fewer roll-ups of ink.)

Mary Hunter shows off her first pull.
She'll be adding another color next run.
We printed with the inked plate face down on the paper with only a piece of printmaking paper on top as a buffer for the roller.

Finished print, detail.
I printed some Tesla heads, and here's an up close so you can see the same area in the mylar version pictured above.

© 2012 Cathy Savage, Tesla and His Favorite Things, 20 x 20"
intaglio, polyester plate lithography, collage, pencils, gouache
I cut out the head, collaged it onto my print from the other day, added shoulders made out of black printmaking paper, and added a drypoint of the bird. I hand colored with pencils and gouache. I'm still working on the face a bit with pencils here and there, but hope to be finalized very soon. I entered it the print into a show and it got in, so I need to get on with framing..

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