Akua-Intaglio Instructions

Table of Contents

Ink Consistency.

Akua Oil Converter
Photos from SAFERPRINTMAKING video

Akua Oil Converter
Photos from SAFERPRINTMAKING video

Akua Intaglio is different from traditional inks in that it has a buttery or liquid consistency. Separation also occurs, therefore mixing is necessary before using. Place the ink knife directly in the ink container and stir. Mix well from the bottom of the container to the top. Akua Intaglio will never harden or form a skin in the container or when left uncovered. The ink consistency varies depending upon the pigment and temperature conditions. Ink will be stiffer when cold and looser when warm.
When trying Akua Intaglio for the first time, we recommend using it right from the jar without modification. However, if a stiffer consistency is desired, it is best to use the Oil Converter.
Before mixing, work the Oil Converter with the ink knife till it’s smooth. Then add Akua Intaglio Ink into the Oil Converter. Start with small amounts until the desired thickness is achieved. To Loosen ink, work ink with an ink knife under a warm lamp, hair dryer, or a hot plate set a very low temperature.

Mixing colours
Create new colors by mixing Akua Intaglio inks with one another using an ink knife, or by adding Akua Kolor into Akua Intaglio. Akua Kolor is so highly concentrated that a few drops added to the same Akua Intaglio color will enrich it. Note: Akua Intaglio will temporarily thicken when Akua Kolor is added to it.

Inking the plate

Use a piece of cardboard as a spatula to apply the ink to the plate. Use the card to press the ink into the grooves. A small roll of blanket (like "a la poupée) can be used for bigger plates. Use a spatula to remove the excess ink. Use telephone directory paper to wipe the plate with the palm of your hands.

David Jay Reed applies ink with a piece of cardboard
Photos from SAFERPRINTMAKING video

Wiping the plate
Akua Intaglio is very soft ink. It applies and wipes off the plate much easier and quicker than oil-based inks. Therefore, at first there may be a tendency to remove too much ink. For best results, use cheesecloth, or very soft tarlatan to wipe the surface of the plate. Roll the cheesecloth or soft tarlatan into a large ball shape. Follow through with a paper wipe if necessary. Be careful not to press your fingers into the inked surface of the plate. Since the ink is soft, it will transfer fingerprint impressions easily.

Printing on Paper

David Jay Reed printing a four colour intaglio print
Photos from SAFERPRINTMAKING video

Four Colour Intaglio-type print by David Jay Reed

Akua Intaglio ink prints well on most standard printmaking papers. We suggest conducting a test by printing the same plate twice. Make one print on dry paper and another print on dampened paper. Your results may depend upon individual plate characteristics and the type of paper used.

Printing on dry paper offers higher contrast prints. It also eliminates the possibility of paper shrinkage making it ideal for printing multi-registered plates or combining prints with digital ink jet or letterpress images. Increase the press pressure and use soft printmaking papers when printing on dry paper. If the print results are blotchy or inconsistent it may be necessary to dampen the paper.
Printing on damp paper may offer greater tonal values and more consistent print results for aquatints. Soak the paper for 30 seconds and blot thoroughly before using.

Re-Soaking Prints
Akua Intaglio ink is permanent. If necessary, prints may be placed in a tray of water immediately after printing. Do not soak prints too long and be careful not to touch the image while wet.

Print Drying Times
Akua Intaglio ink does not contain dryers. Typically a shallow bitten plate will take 24 hours to dry. Deeply bitten plates may take 2 weeks or longer. Drying time may also depend upon paper absorbency, climate, and the amount of ink applied. Glossy or coated papers are not reliable. Try to avoid using cobalt- or manganese dryers.

Cleaning Up
First, clean all inky surfaces, rollers, and plates with a dry rag. Use 1 part liquid dish detergent to 20 parts water for cleaning up any remaining ink residue. Use a little vinegar diluted with water to clean any soap build up if necessary.

Trouble Shooting

Ink dries too light on the print

  • Stir the ink thorougly in jar before using
  • Try different papers
  • If using Carbon Black, try Lamp Black
  • Paper may be too wet (blot before using)
  • Plate may be over wiped (apply ink with a rubber squeegee or wipe with less hand-pressure, softer tarlatan, or just paper wipe)
  • Add Akua Kolor to the ink to enrich

Ink dries too dark on the print

  • Add Transparent Base to the ink to reduce the color intensity.

Transparent Base
Photos from SAFERPRINTMAKING video

Print dries too matte

  • Add Akua Oil Converter to the ink

Etched lines bleed on finished print

  • Paper may be too wet (blot before using)
  • Try different papers
  • Add Akua Oil Converter to the ink

 Heavy inked prints dry slowly

  • Toxic Cobalt and Manganese dryers are not recommended , but can be used.
  • Dry de prints in a well ventilated area.
  • Avoid a humid environment
  • Give the print the time to dry.

Ink wipes out from incised lines

  • Ink may be too loose (stiffen the ink with Akua Oil Converter)

Print lacks plate tone

  • Loosen the ink by warming with hair dyer or hot plate.
  • Print on damp paper

Print has too much plate tone

  • Stiffen the ink with Akua Oil Converter
  • Print on dry paper
  • Wipe more thoroughly with paper

Prints dry blotchy

  • Dampen the paper
  • Avoid touching the inked surface of the plate and transferring fingerprints