Non-Toxic Lithography

Have fallen in love with a new (to me) process. It’s a gloriously low-tech, immediate sort of method. All you really need is some fountain solution (32oz cold water, 1/2 tsp citric acid crystals, 1 tbsp gum arabic), ink, a Sharpie, a pronto plate, brayer, sponge, some paper, and a press. I mean, seriously. You can draw right on your plate with a sharpie or Bic Cristal ballpoint pens. (Beware if you use the fine point sharpie. I learned the hard way that it starts to break down after about 5 prints.) Luckily, I can scan a good print & laser or photocopy directly onto the plate again. HA.

Super Black India Ink (with carbon black pigment) works really well, as does toner&alcohol. You can use other things, but these are my favorite alternatives to pens (so far).

Since the plates are translucent, you can register easily. Wet to wet or wet to dry.

The best part is that I can get results similar to serigraph stencils without messing around with photo emulsion (of course it takes a lot longer to produce an edition). Pretty much any paper works for this process.

Below is a wet plate stuck to the table with water (so it doesn’t shift around while I’m wiping & rolling ink). Here you can see how the turquoise ink sticks to my red ballpoint pen. It looks pretty cool just that way.

Printed at Tiger Lily Press in Cincinnati, OH.

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2 responses to “Non-Toxic Lithography

  1. Hi, Nicci! I have followed your blog (on my blog list) and shared this post on facebook. I really love your work, and that printmaking method is really intriguing. I’m not familiar with pronto plates, but I’d like to try it. Also sent you friend request on facebook.

    • Hi, Sharmon! Thank you so much. ❤ I admire your altered books so it's an extra fine compliment to hear you say you like my work too. Pronto plates are really fun, inexpensive to get and you can use very inexpensive materials to make your images on the plate, from sharpie (fat sharpies seem to work better than fine, which I think use less pigment and tend to lift after a few prints) to ballpoint pen (Bic Cristal works very well) and my personal favorite, toner. If you want to check it out, I highly recommend taking a class with Jay Harriman. Or if you come by Tiger Lily (or even join!) I can show you some plates. xx

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