Friday, February 07, 2014

The Long Path to Success

On October 13, 2010, I made a blog post about photogravures with polymer plates, in which I was frustrated about the process, realized that I was mostly on my own with how far I wanted to push the process, and had mostly given up on the usability of the information on the internet.

The information is out there.  The frustration grew from two things:
1.  The good information is scattered among lots of incomplete or bad information.
2.  Those who had the type of success I was pursuing seemed to have access to some very expensive equipment, and I wanted to do this without spending thousands of dollars.

As the October 2010 post suggests, I decided to "keep on paddling" forward.

Fast-forward to November 2013, and I had figured out the least expensive way to get the high quality that I wanted.  I published a book about the workflow.  In the book I included an email address, offering to help those who bought the book.  Currently, I'm having email correspondence with a few people, and am anxious to see the success they will have.

For the sake of encouraging others who look to explore the process of making photogravures with polymer plates (and for curious record-keeping), I will post links to most of the blog entries I made over the past three years (that have to do with learning this process).  Hopefully it encourages students by reminding them that success is not instant.  It takes work.  They will experience frustration.  The reward is worth the effort (I believe).

Believe it or not, making many cyanotypes helped me understand making adjustment curves.  I had some success, but in 2011 I felt that I did not yet understand it well enough to teach.  Making many cyanotypes, allowing myself to experiment with making curves by intuition (making many different digital negatives for small prints) let me develop a solid understanding of compensation curves for digital negatives.  Cyanotypes are significantly less expensive to make than polymer plates for photogravure.  Toning cyanotypes with different agents also reinforced the idea that different inks and tones will have different grayscale densities, forcing me to be very careful in the future about which ink I was going to use for photogravure (making unique curves depending on the ink color).

To everyone learning this process, I want to wish you good luck.  If you own my book, please feel free to email me at the address in the book.

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