Intaglio Editions

Photogravure Platemaking Services FAQ

Polymer Photogravure Platemaking FAQ

Q: How large can Intaglio Editions make custom photogravure plates?

We can make full sized images up to 23 x 39" and can gang multiple images onto plates as large as 29x39". File preparation instructions are here.

Q: How do you make your custom plates?

Our process in developing our custom procedure for making polymer plates for more photographic intaglio prints has been online since 2004. Jon Lybrook updates it from time to time as new information becomes available.

Q: I usually clean the ink from my plates with mineral spirits and then alcohol. Is that ok for your plates?

Mineral spirits in large amounts will break down the finer matrix of the plate, causing it to lose some details over multiple cleanings. Alcohol, as well as mineral spirits will dry and eventually change the texture of the plate on a microscopic level over time. We recommend SoySolvII run onto clean newsprint, followed by a light spritzing of mineral spirits, also run off onto clean newsprint. Cleaning with baby oil also works in a pinch, but leaves behind more residue. Here's a quick video to show how we gently clean our plates for maximum life:

Full video here on the nuances of how we print our plates to prevent the most common problems, and getting the most continuous tone and richness:

Q: Why doesn't Jon Lybrook's procedure tell me how to make digital negatives?

Because other people have written about and taught that far better than I could. reference several very good books that have helped me to come up with my own method for deriving a process compensation curve. --Jon Lybrook

Q: Do you sell your special high-rez aquatint screens?

No, we don't. Sorry. Our interest is in providing the best quality photogravure-quality polymer plates available anywhere. Not in managing the production of aquatint screens. How are screens are designed is also in the online procedure.

Our finer aquatint screen is key to our success, but it's no secret either. Our screen is better than any other screen out there for continuous tone since the dots are finer than any commercially available to printmakers. Printmaking teachers wouldn't dare to use our custom screen in a class situation, for example, since it makes proper contact and cleanliness even more mission-critical. The higher resolution our process provides is a double-edged sword. Better quality, but harder to do well, and why our plates, in combination with our printmaking process recommendations, are the best solution for printmakers seeking more continuous tone for photogravure without having to learn the craft of platemaking as well as printmaking themselves.

Q: Why do you give your detailed process information away if it's worth anything??

This process is hard to do well. If we can save someone who wants to do it themselves the time or trouble, why not? If someone is more interested in perfecting process for a while rather than their art, Intaglio Editions is here to help them in that pursuit as well! Our photogravure printmaking consulting rates are here.

Q: Why do you say your plates scratch easily?

Because they do, at least under most class environments where printmaking normally takes place. Our finer dot screen creates a finer, but more fragile dot matrix on the plate, allowing it to mar more easily, This can be usually be prevented with proper preparation. For example, if the wiping area has been properly cleaned ahead of time and is free of grit or metal shavings that might cut into the delicate dot matrix of the polymer plate, scratches may be easily avoided. Best practices to avoid scratching our plates while printing with them can be found in our free online video series on printmaking.

Q: What's so special about continuous tone your plates offer? I love polymer photogravure for the coarse look of it!

So do we! We just prefer it to be an option rather than required, so we raised the bar a notch by developing Intaglio Editions Premium Photogravure plates.

Q: What do you know about digital negatives, digital positives, imagesetter film or film positives?

Check out our blog. It's where we sometimes geek out and vent about trends in technology and traditional printmaking.

Q: Do you give group workshops?

We are currently only accepting private clients. Contact Intaglio Editions for free consultation about your project today! There are also many talented experts teaching workshops in a variety of printmaking topics throughout the world! Some of my favorite may be found here.

Q: Are you available for hire?

Absolutely! We have a small team of printmaking experts ready to handle some or all of your handmade, fine intaglio editioning needs. Other questions? Contact Intaglio Editions for free consultation about your project today!

Call us at (303) 818-5187 or E-mail to discuss your project today.

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