View Full Version : My first decent carbon prints

9-Apr-2014, 01:48
After few weeks of trying different pigment concentrations, different sensitizer amounts and changing other variables I have some decent (at least for me) carbon prints.
It took me a while and about 20 test prints to find correct pigment, sensitizer and exposure time which works for my negatives.
Carbon printing process is surprisingly simple, but there are a lot of variables. Having so many degrees of freedom is great but takes some time to make it working for you.
Good thing is that materials for the process are really cheap, so you can experiment without worrying about loosing money.
Anyway, I have two decent prints from technique point of view. There are still some things to improve.

Jim Fitzgerald
9-Apr-2014, 05:23
Congratulations. Finding your way in carbon is fun. Once you get your work flow down it is just sometime in manufacture of materials and then print, print, print. Remember that skies are tough to clear as are large open areas of whites. Find a formula and stick with it and do not change things until it all makes sense. Takes some time so don't get frustrated. Carbon is an amazing process full of possibilities. Most of all have fun!

9-Apr-2014, 05:35
Sky in second picture was that dirty in reality. It was about 30s exposure so clouds moved a little and it looks bit weird.
Your and David Chalmers YT videos made me thinking about trying this by myself.
Thanks :)

John Jarosz
9-Apr-2014, 05:53
Congrats on working all this out. That second image is very nice. Now keep going.

Jim Graves
10-Apr-2014, 22:11
Skies are a problem in carbon ... they can be done but most carbon printers avoid them.

It's a wonderful medium, though.

When I saw my first carbon prints I remember thinking "This is how black and white is supposed to look." i still feel that way.

Very nice prints, by the way!

Ed Bray
10-Apr-2014, 23:14
Keep at it.

I am like yourself a novice in the Carbon Printing game, but find it really rewarding knowing that I have created from scratch the final medium that my image will be displayed on. I am restricted to contact printing from my 5x7 negatives at the moment but although it is a steep learning curve I am finding that I am improving with each attempt and gaining good experience along the way. I have tried a number of different finishes for my Carbon Prints and although I like the results obtained using fixed out Gloss Fibre Based paper, I am using fixed out RC Multigrade Gloss as a standard to enable me to keep as many parts of the process standardised to be more able to identify exactly what happens when I make changes to other parts of the process.

My favourite part of the process is making the glop and tissue, there is something I find strangely satisfying about creating a tissue.

Jim Fitzgerald
11-Apr-2014, 07:25
Creating tissue is where it all starts. Your carbon signature so to speak. Mixing glop and using your special pigment gives you your special look. Fun stuff. Enjoy and learn by your failures! The process is not that hard to do but it just takes time to master and understand.

11-Apr-2014, 10:33
Creating tissue is where it all starts. Your carbon signature so to speak...

As if they'd care, but in the future people will be able to know what drugs I used in the 70's by analysizing the beard hair in my prints...LOL!