10 February 2010

Testing Akua Inks for Valentine's Day

A few days ago I had a meeting with Zea Mays Printmaking director Liz Chalfin to talk about offering a printmaking workshop that would meet once a week over the course of several weeks. As we were talking about ordering supplies, Liz asked me if I had ever used Akua Color inks for moku hanga. In fact I've only used Guerra pigments (see sidebar for link) so Liz gave me a little box of Akua Color that she had on hand so I could try them out.

I decided to test the inks by making some quick valentine postcards. First I pulled out some old blocks that I had used for various prints in the past.

MiscBlocks

Then I cut some paper scraps down to 4" x 6", and cut a 3.5" x 5.5" window out of a 6" x 8" piece of acetate. This would allow me to frame and isolate any portion of the various blocks for printing. I had three Akua colors, crimson red, pthalo blue and hansa yellow. I used them straight out of the bottle, tinting them by adding water rather than adding white and I printed as usual with a baren. I worked very quickly, as I was just trying to get a feel for the inks. They worked beautifully, pretty much exactly the way the Guerra pigments do, and they dry to the same matte finish that I associate with moku hanga. I think I'll use them at the workshop.

Here are some of the postcards I made:

Valentines

10 comments:

www.joprice.co.uk said...

Lovely cards Annie, and so much nicer to receive individual, hand made ones.

Melody Knight Leary said...

Great cards Annie. Looks like you had fun experimenting.

I started using Akua inks back in 2004 in both my own studio work as well as in my classroom. They're so versatile and the fact that they're soy based, non-toxic, and clean up without solvents is fantastic. (It was amazing to see how quickly a class of 20 high school printmakers could clean up with just a spray bottle filled with water and Dawn!) The more you use these inks the more you'll love them. Happy Printing!

BTW - What kind of class are you planning to run at Zea Mays? I've always wanted to visit them.

Annie B said...

Melody, Zea Mays is a great studio and the workshops are wonderful - I've taken several myself. The class I'll be teaching will be an intro to Japanese woodblock (moku hanga).

Maria said...

Beautiful colors. I used Akua inks for the Year of the Ox print and really liked the clean pure colors. They are powerful too, a little goes a long way.
Great cards!

Kit said...

I like your valentines! I have experimented with these a little too -- with gelatin plate printing -- and I like how saturated the colors are.

Ellen Shipley said...

Lovely valentines.

red-handed said...

**Much love on these ...

HA said...

Can you tell me a bit more about the inks please? Does it come in a liquid form good to print or does it need to be diluted?

So far I've been using tubed watercolours but have been struggling to get the ratio of water to tube paste right...

Thanks...

Annie B said...

Hi HA. The ink comes in bottles, and I used it straight out of the bottle for strong rich color. I added water to create a lighter "tint" when that's what I needed. The manufacturer has an excellent web site full of information:
http://www.waterbasedinks.com/

starkeyart said...

Nice cards, Annie! I love my Akua Kolors and how well they work with wood. I'd recommend the blending medium as well. I think I've had the inks since July, and still have about 2/3 of each color I use the most often, but I'm on my fourth bottle of the blending medium. It works great to get them thin and transparent.