Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ink Oxidation

Detail of print - Searching.

Edmonton is known for being extremely dry in winter. (Before we finally invested in a humidifier, the humidity in our apartment was down to 10%). Along with the dryness came an unforeseen problem with one of my prints (Searching). A few days after printing part of the edition, I noticed that my ink looked more brown than black; also, most of the lines lost their crisp form and looked like they were bleeding a bit (see short vertical lines). Instead of putting the prints between flattening boards right away, I let them air-dry to keep the thick and raised lines intact without squishing them down. Now I know that black ink, when it's quite thick on the paper and dries too fast, can oxidize and turn a dark rusty brown colour with a kind of iridescence. My initial response was dismay: a whole day's work lost! However, there are solutions to the problem. To take care of the oxidation, simply spray a thin layer of a drawing fixative spray, more like a mist, across the surface of the print and the oxidation disappears instantly and permanently. To prevent it from happening in the first place, I've seen people put a sheet of glassine over the freshly printed prints in the drying rack, which prevents the ink from drying too fast. Lesson learned.

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