For a little while now I’ve been experimenting with the idea of working imitation gold leaf (also known as Schlag Metal or Dutch Metal) into my prints. See this previous post on post-print embellishments.

I’ve also returned to printing with metallic inks. Last year, I tried this with some fairly rough textured plates, thinking that this would print quite well. It didn’t. Compared to almost every other colour inks, metallics inks just don’t seem to have enough density to print with a decent amount of definition. Recently though, I’ve read quite a lot of blog posts by other printmakers, who have wrestled with the same issue. One tip suggested mixing the gold with a small amount of yellow ochre or diarylide yellow – one that would enhance the body of the colour, without altering it too much. It worked!

home page image: 'Seam' – gold

‘Seam’ – the plate was made using interior filler

home page image: 'Seam' – gold detail

‘Seam’ detail

home page image: 'Disc IV' – gold

I also applied the technique to the print above (Disc IV). Here, sepia, yellows and gold were all used to define the plate’s ridges. I suppose the danger is that I could start using metallics too much. The trick is to only use them sparingly, on plates which are already highly textured and ‘feel’ as if they will benefit from that richness of colour.

home page image: 'Disc IV' – gold detail

‘Disc IV’ – detail



The reds in the as yet untitled image above was printed in the usual fashion through the press. After drying, I used a thin brush to paint a special adhesive into the blank centre channel. After a few minutes, this becomes tacky, allowing me to sprinkle the scholar metal onto the line of adhesive. You can see practice runs I made in the picture below.

Imitation gold and copper leaf

As previously mentioned, I also have some gold gilding wax to play around with. As this is much richer than the inks I use, next time I might even try mixing it into my colours before inking a plate.


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