View Full Version : Carbro Tricolor

david clark
30-Jun-2004, 11:44
HI. Has anyone here experience with carbro tricolor processing. I can find lots of hits on a Google search, but I can not find a detailed account to how it is done. Thanks

30-Jun-2004, 12:30
I put carbon tri-color in Google and found a link that satisfied my quest on the google page. Look at the last item called FACTS and open that up and see if that does it for you.


david clark
30-Jun-2004, 12:52
Thanks for the tip, but it doesn't do it for me. I want to know what the practical steps in this process is/are. And what kind of resources you have to have to do it. Thanks for any information though.

Hans Berkhout
30-Jun-2004, 12:59
ask Katharine Thayer.

30-Jun-2004, 14:51

I have made quite a number of tri-color carbons and carbros but I gave color work up some years ago in favor of monochrome cabon. It would be difficult to offer you any practical advice on making tri-color carbon and carbro prints because there is simply nothing practical about the operation, especially since there are no commercial materials manufactured for the process.

For a good description of how the process works, with illustrations, I would recommend the 1948 3rd edition of D.A. Spencer's Colour Photography in Practice.

If you have further questions let me know.

I would also suggest that you contact Dick Sullivan at Bostick & Sullivan in Santa Fe. He may have plans to make color color tissue available at some time in the future.

BTW, Katharine Thayer is a three-color gum printer. To the best of my knowledge she has no experience with three-color carbon or carbro.

david clark
30-Jun-2004, 15:20
Thanks Sandy, is the monochrome carbon process 1/3 of the full color process? And does it take a laboratory and a chemist to do the carbon process? does it involve dangerous chemicals. Thanks for the help.

30-Jun-2004, 15:33

Carbon printing, even the monochrome variety, is quite a bit more complicated than most other alternative processes so the learning curve is quite a bit longer than for some of the popular alternative processes such as gum bichromate and Pt/Pd. It does not take a laboratory or chemist to do carbon process but it does take a lot of patience and ability to deal with failure.

Color carbon is on another level of difficulty altogether since you must also learn to make color separations. This is easier to do today with Photoshop and digtial output than it was twenty years ago, but still not simple, especially if you have to balance color with hand-made color carbon tissue.

I would also suggest that you try to contact Tod Gangler, of Art and Soul Studio in Seattle, WA to talk about the feasibility of making color carbon prints today. I have seen some of his color work with the Ultrachrome process, which was made with digital separations, and it ranks with the best color carbon work I have ever seen.

david clark
30-Jun-2004, 17:05
Thank you Sandy

30-Jun-2004, 21:00
Contact Jim Browning at Digital Mask. In addition to Chromira printing he does his own dye transfer printing and knows all about other traditional color printing techniques.

1-Jul-2004, 01:43
Hello David,

check out this, it might give some ideas about the Carbon process:


chris jordan
1-Jul-2004, 09:40
David, contact Tod Gangler in Seattle-- he's the world's foremost expert on the carbro process right now. His business is called Art & Soul Photo. I've worked with him quite a bit-- a couple of years ago he made several prints for me and spent a lot of time showing me the process. I eventually decided against it because the process is so difficult to control and expensive. Carbro prints do last forever, and on watercolor paper they're really cool, but to my eye pigmented ink prints from the Epson 9600 are far more beautiful (cleaner colors and sharper).

Good luck,



Chad Jarvis
1-Jul-2004, 18:03
Taschen published a book, Paul Outerbridge , that contains considerable technical, very detailed information on tri-color carbon/carbro. Great book.

david clark
2-Jul-2004, 20:37
Thanks all!!!

3-Jul-2004, 13:03
David, I did tricolor Carbro in the '50s, and finally gave up and switched to Dye Transfer because it was so much easier (and more repeatable). I see no reason to attempt either of them today, as the nuances and archival properties of Ilfochrome are at least as good, and suspect that the latest digital prints are, also. (Plain B&W Carbon prints are, however, another matter.)

6-Oct-2004, 11:12
Carbro ain't easy but for me it is the only way to go, have been making carbro prints for the last twenty years and I would suggest that learning how to make a good black and white is the first step before you do color. my web site www.carbromac.com might give you some insight but feel free to contact me direct if you have detail questions.