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New Print Project: Part 1

Published on: 24 March, 2008

(above) Photograph of the artist’s drawing and writing on clear Mylar featuring a pen and ink study after Self-Portrait with Night: Side Panels I (above, at left), and handwritten texts in Rapidograph ink (above, at right) and in sumi ink (lower, at right). The drawings on Mylar will be photographically transferred to a printing plate to begin the print.

Part 1: Drawing test on Mylar

Jim Stroud of Center Street Studio, printer and publisher, has invited me to work on a new print project. Jim’s wife, artist Janine Wong suggested that I make a variation on my accordion journal/drawings. These are folded drawings that I created in 1986 and 1987. See image below. I’m envisioning my new print will evolve as series of studies based around the drawings that I am currently creating. The print will be printed and then folded, accordion-style at the end of the project. Each panel of the accordion-fold will be 4 x 6 inches, the page size of my current journals.

First we will do some tests to find an effective way to transfer my drawing/writing to the printing plate. I will work on clear Mylar that accepts pen and ink and send it to Jim. Jim will place the Mylar face down on a photographically-sensitized printing plate, expose the plate to a strong light, and then develop the plate. Hopefully the writing will be transferred to the plate in clear, precise detail. Because the Mylar was reversed, the writing will re-reverse when printed and read correctly.

Using my 4x0 Rapidograph pen on the Mylar, the ink seemed too thin. I doubt that it would be dark enough block the light which is the key to a solid transfer to the printing plate. I found some sumi ink that is much darker and flows beautifully from the tiny point of my dip pen; but the sumi is not waterproof. The slightest moisture could re-wet the ink. I will use the non-waterproof ink and take precautions to keep the Mylar dry. I’ve also done a copy of a drawing that I’m currently working on, Self-Portrait with Night: Side Panels I. I’ll mail the Mylars to Jim for him to transfer to the plate. Although the drawing and writing will eventually be printed on the same sheet, each will go on a different printing plate because they require different handling in the development process. (To be continued)


Charles Ritchie, Accordion Drawing, 1986, watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on Arches paper, approx. 4 x 30″ (uncatalogued). The forthcoming print project will be based on the format of this series of drawings.

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