We decided to create a test plate at this juncture in order to produce a useful tool for predicting how a range of line thicknesses and tones will translate from the original image to the final print. Using Photoshop, we created a grayscale for three different dot patterns: an unmodified halftone, a stippled grain, and a medium dot mezzotint filter. We also included a variety of lines in different thicknesses, ranging from 1 to 25 pixels wide, as well as section with crosshatched lines 2 pixels and 5 pixels wide. This section of the test includes the first two attempts at making the grayscale Pronto plate transfer.
Date: December 11, 2012
Researcher’s Name: Sally Mackenzie
Plate Material: Copper .032
Plate Size: 5.5″ x 6″
Room Temperature: 68 Degrees Fahrenheit, dry
Printed grayscale document from Photoshop using the Brother HL-2280DW laser printer with Toner Save “Off” and paper set to “Thick.” Set Pronto plate on hot plate (set to medium heat) under a cookie sheet for 25 minutes. Prepared two bowls of water, one plain and one 3 cups water and 1/2 tbsp Gum Arabic. Using a small speedball roller, I rolled a slab of unmodified BIG ground. I gently sponged the pronto plate with the Gum mixture, then rolled on the ground, which immediately began to stick to toner areas unevenly, and would not spread evenly with further rolling or sponging. Aborted both this attempt and the next, during which I switched to a larger, heavier roller, but had a poor transfer due to over-sponging.
Tackiness of the BIG continues to pose problems, however it seems that a few more attempts at rolling the Pronto plate may be necessary in order to get a feel for how to do this successfully. The rolling process is too sensitive to produce good results unless a flush, quality roller can be used to distribute the ground evenly. For the next test, I may try heating the BIG in order to loosen it without using a modifier that could compromise it’s ability to stand up to a long etch.