Final print with plate tone
This drawing was made on June 8th, 2013.
I bought some ball grained aluminum plates from Takach Press, and some black Staedtler Omnicron watercolor pencils to embark on the waterless lithography process. One first needs to wash the aluminum plate with hot water to remove all the grease and dust from the surface. Then he can draw directly onto the plate with the Omnicron watercolor pencil. I drew on this plate over a year ago (but kept it covered in a plastic box).
Manuel diluted this silicone with 30% mineral spirits
-- until the mix was the consistency of maple syrup --
and rubbed that into the plate with a cloth,
using only hand pressure
(I was not there for that process)
24 hours later we cleaned the plate with hot water
Using only hand pressure,
Manuel scrubbed the plate,
dissolving all the watercolor pencil lines.
He did this several times,
later using dish soap.
Ultimately only the blank aluminum
was covered in silicone.
We should have filed the edges
before coating the plate with silicone.
We filed afterwards,
which meant that the edges retained
some of the ink
(leaving a rectangle around the image,
which we liked)
Only use rubber based ink
-- Vanson --
Manny rolled the brayer over the ink,
making sticky sounds
(like the sizzle of bacon).
Not much ink is used,
only enough to put a sheen on the roller.
Then he rolled a clean brayer over the plate,
to pull off the excess ink.
Plate down first, image up,
then Rives BFK paper,
then a piece of cardboard,
then a blanket on top of all this
Manuel ran the plate through an etching press,
and pulled the paper off the plate.
We were lucky,
it came out wonderfully
The basic process is to coat everything but the drawing with silicone. The rubber ink will not stick to the silicone, but it will stick to the exposed aluminum plate (where the drawing is).
done at the University of Mexico
One can do waterless litho without a press, using only hand pressure to print. Also, I heard that the aluminum plates can be reused ( I suspect that mineral spirits is used to take the silicone off the plate).
Apparently waterless litho can be tricky, and it might be hard to make an edition, as the silicone tends to break down after so many prints.
Waterless lithography is far more sensitive than silkscreen, and therefore retains the quality of my lines a lot better in fine art prints. My original lines fade as they turn corners, giving a sense of space to the drawing. The silkscreen process always flattens my lines, and thus usually deprives the final prints of an intimate sense of space. Perhaps with half tones I could recoup some of the quality of my lines for silkscreen prints; nevertheless, my lines will always be more direct and fresher with lithography.
Update: In Mexico they have developed some odd tools for printing waterless lithos by hand, without a press. I saw the ones below at Zoveck Studio in Mexico City (Jan 2017). Zoveck does a lot of waterless litho.
hand printing tools