Sunday, August 17, 2014

Photograph Printing Tests and Journal Covers

New journals using my Irish photos.

Can you tell which of these new journal covers were printed on canvas or watercolor paper? Or which got some digital ground coating?
Ever since an art friend talked about using her photographs on journals, I’ve been thinking about using photos as book covers. My first thought was that printing on glossy paper just wouldn’t work because handling the journal would create fingerprint smudges. But a while ago I dedicated a weekend to experimenting.


90 lb. watercolor paper (above) and 140 lb. w/c paper (below).
Both have digital medium; the 90 lb. has one coat,
 the 140 lb. two coats.

Feeling like a scientist, I decided to test various substrates to print upon and designated one group would get two coats of Golden Digital Ground medium white matte while another identical group got none. Afterwards, I created a chart of specifics and results.

Here are the “papers” I used:
  •   90 lb. Fabriano Artistico watercolor
  •   140 lb. Fabriano Artistico watercolor
  •   Strathmore Canvas Inkjet
  •   Fixxon Ultra Premium Textured Canvas
  •   Lutradur Mixed Media sheets, 70 grams
  •   Jacquard Cotton Inkjet Fabric Sheets

Two cotton sheets, one with digital medium (top), the other without.

I was surprised that even one coat of the Golden Digital medium (on the 90 lb. Fabriano Artistico watercolor) made for such a sharp image. Some of the lighter materials buckled badly when the medium was applied but printed well. I’m impressed with this product and would use it again. I have another bottle of the clear version that I haven’t even tried yet. It prints transparently, so it would interesting to print on all manner of already-printed or patterned papers.

Two Lutradur sheets, one with digital medium (top), the other without.

For photographs, I choose ones taken on my last trip to Ireland. Some were designated for full-bleed 10” x 7” with a focal point on the right side, some I printed as 5” x 7” images. It was also a test of my relatively-new printer (Epson Artisan 50) with archival inks. The watercolor papers had some light blurring at the end of print end yet some of the lighter-weight ones were hard to feed into my one-pass printer. Overall, I was pleased with the printer but, of course, now wish I’d bought the wide-format version so I wouldn’t be so limited to either letter (8 ½” x 11”) or legal (8 ½” x 14”) papers.


Canvas sheets, one with digital medium (top), the other without.

Deeming an overall success to the tests, I went on to create a few 5” x 7” journals from those full-bleed photos (now available in my Etsy shop).