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.
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: