Sunday, May 15, 2022

More tests with pen, ink and matte medium

I worry about the unknowable future. A scan from a book that's almost finished. Collage on eco-dyed paper

Last year I suggested d'Atramentis inks for drawing because I was finding them to be waterproof. Recently I have been having more bleeding when I collage drawings down with matte medium. I am not sure what's going on, it may be that I'm using a different architect's tracing paper. I did use up a roll recently. Unfortunately I don't know what the brand was. 

So now I'm trying to find new ways to seal the drawings before collaging them down. I apply matte medium to the back of the image and the substrate, then lay on the drawing. I coat the top of the collage with matte medium, pressing the collage down with the brush. I smooth it out with my finger and wipe away excess matte medium.

Of course I don't want the image to smear as I brush on matte medium or wipe away excess. Talking to my critique group recently about this, they suggested I try varnish or shellac. And then I saw a mention online of applying matte medium to a gelli plate and pressing the collage material on to that. Varnish is thinned with mineral spirits, very bad for lungs, so that's my last resort. Shellac is thinned with alcohol. I don't know if a small amount would be bad, but I do keep the windows open. If I'm using it a lot I set up a fan to pull out air. Matte medium is acrylic, and so for most people maybe not bad to breathe. 

Testing shellac to seal a drawing before collaging.

Above is the shellac test - It's a brown d'Atramentis ink sketch on architect's tracing paper. I sealed it with a thin coat of Zinsser shellac, thinned with 91% alcohol about 3 to 1, alcohol to shellac. 91% alcohol is  apparently flammable. People online say you shouldn't thin shellac with 70% alcohol, there is too much water. I haven't tested that. At this dilution the shellac doesn't change the color of the tracing paper. Undiluted it has a warm yellow color which is very nice when brushed onto paper to make it look old. I let it dry for 3 or 4 days. Then I collaged the sketch in my usual way. The ink does not bleed at all while brushing on shellac or while collaging it. I like the smell of the shellac, but don't know if it's bad to breathe. 

Above is a test with black d'Atramentis ink and a color print from my Epson printer, which uses the Ultrachrome K3 inks. A thin coat of Golden matte medium was applied to both images using the gelli plate. I rolled the matte medium onto the plate, then smoothed on the drawing and peeled it off. It dries pretty fast - in a matter of minutes in my 40% humidity studio. After collaging the images down I rubbed fairly hard on selected areas. There may be a tiny smear at the top of the drawing. And definitely one on the head of the skeleton. (the image will enlarge) But gentle rubbing doesn't produce smears.

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