Friday, July 25, 2008

Inspiration Friday: Fine Art Ink-jet Printing - Juice For Your Creativity

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, this is our last day in Annapolis Maryland and it's been a great week. Today is just a bit different from my normal Inspiration Friday, but I still think a good read. I want to pick up where we left off on Monday. I mentioned that we spent the day with Barbara Ellison, a wonderful fine art photographer and print-maker. That's Barbara in the middle of our group photo.What I loved about her seminar was the fact that she showed us that we could print on just about anything you can get through the printer. We were using Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5000 printer (this model as been replaced with the imagePROGRAF iPF5100 ) and all of us were getting some wonderful results printing on a wide variety of handmade papers, veneers, and even metals.

Sure, it depended on subject matter, density, and contrast, but once you got a feel for the subject matter and the medium - one of Barbara's big points of her opening discussion - you were on your way to creating some very intriguing, cool looking finished pieces. Patty Geist, from Kearney, Nebraska, (second from left) printed an image of a welder on metal, and boy, did that look great. The metal on the pipes and the flying of the sparks reflected beautifully on the metal only enhancing the final presentation.

I printed one of my B&W images taken at Sedona Arizona, and the finished image just looked great. OK, that's really nice but, How can I do that in the comfort of my own studio? Well, it turns out it is not "brain surgery". It's simply a matter of knowing a few tricks of the trade to get you going. First of all, head over to Barbara's site for one more peek at her images right here - look at the "In My Garden" gallery in particular. See how the textures of the medium enhance the finished result. This is particularly evident in the first few images. Barbara specializes in images of flowers, but any subject matter when paired with the correct medium, we found, works just beautifully.

Although we printed on the Japanese Unryu papers, which means "Cloud Dragon paper" - their delicacy and textures are really beautiful, you can find quite a nice selection and discussion on many different styles and types of hand made papers over at the right here. This site has several links showing how to even make your own, if you are so inclined. To purchase the Unryu paper, check out - a huge art supply source on line.

Another favorite paper was the beautiful Kinwashi paper also from Japan. I just "googled" these names and several sources popped on the Internet. One of my favorites for the Kinwashi was right here which shows the beautiful texture of the medium. The Kitakata papers looks pretty interesting to me as well. check them out.

OK, here is the rest of the story - you can't just load a piece of the handmade paper into your printer and hit "Print". You've got to prep the paper first other wise you would have a huge mess on your hands. The ink would bleed throughout the paper strands and the result - well, like they say - it wouldn't be a pretty picture. You need to know the secret handshake to make it all work - and that secret handshake is a liquid called InkAid. To print on any of these delicate papers, you need to coat them with InkAid which creates the proper receptor surface for the ink-jet ink. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but hey, we are going for the fine art look here. Michael Angelo didn't paint the Sistine Chapel in a day, you know. You can get all the info on the InkAid products right here. The site has several additional links too to assist in the fine art printing process.

Check out Andrew Darlow's article over at right here for a very thorough discussion of fine art printing considerations - it's a good read. Another really good resource is a book recommended by Barbara entitled the Digital Art Studio by Karin Schminke, Dorothy Simpson Krause, and Bonny Pierce Lhotka. I just ordered my copy on Wednesday.

I know at this point, you may be thinking, "Ziser, you've got to be crazy to go to all that effort playing around with all that fine art stuff . I'll never do any of that stuff in my studio." Well, folks, that's where my mantra comes in again - "It's the difference that makes the difference." I see exciting possibilities in offering my clients something very special - something they can't get anywhere else within a 1000 miles. It's a product that is something unique, lasting, and valuable. On the other hand, and I have said it many times before, experiment, play, explore outside your photographic comfort zone and different things happen in your brain - you get different brain juices flowing. Those new brain juices energize the parts of the brain you already use and enhance your creativity in your normal areas of endeavor. The bottom line - it's all good stuff - and all important to our creative processes.

I've given you the quick overview here with enough resources to get you started. If you really want the first hand experience, you can check out when Barbara's next workshop. Additional information is available by contacting

Hey gang that's it for me for this week. We are packing the bags and hitting the road with a late return to good ol' KY about 12 A. M. Saturday. I'll plan on seeing everybody next week - same time, same station. And don't forget, tickle a pixel or two this weekend. Adios, David


  1. The question is, Who is that great looking lady that is next to the last person on the right!

  2. I have actually used InkAid before, and I liked it. It was difficult to get the hang of at first – not so much the InkAid itself, but how to make it work with your paper. But once you get a feel for the medium you are using, and how to use InkAid to prep it, it can really do wonders.
    And I love the idea of printing on unconventional mediums. It really makes your work stand out, which is the point, right?

  3. Finally!
    A blog worth reading on forward until the end! :) I really admire the wording in this blog, quite precise to the details but I just might change one or two things, never-the-less, bravo on well choiced words mate.. p.s.>> Thanks for sharing, I actually picked up some knowledge on this one :)
    -Have an amazing day!!!!!!!1