Re: smooth gravure tones!
I found this happening with a deeper etched solarplate--the tarlatan actually got fibers stuck on the texture in the plate. That might be it. I assume with all your printmaking experience you know how to wipe, and well...
What I mean by grit: I am experimenting with a very long aquatint exposure, in relation to my theory that the total time of exposure is not all that important, it is the ratio of aquatint exposure to positive that is the key to achieving the tonal range (and then once you get that correct, your curve you develop doesn't have to do all the work and is less drastic).
What I have found is that a long outside-in-the-sun aquatint exposure gives the deepest rich gritty blacks, they are quite beautiful, but if the positive exposure is not long enough on top, that texture goes across the whole plate and gives even the whites a "film noir" look if that is a good description. But it is not the grey yuk look that is common under UVBL (where the whole image looks like you used a 0 filter on a BW print), but more of a Tri-X look printed low key with a 3 1/2 filter. Maybe that analogy explains the difference.
When I made the plates this way I found I needed to increase the amount of Easy Wipe in my ink because the plates just GRABBED ink because of the texture. But this use of solarplate has me quite intrigued.
Soon I will get some of these experiments uploaded to my website, but the sun has not been out, school is finishing up, and I am seduced away by my library project...
Hi Christina, and thanks a lot. What did you mean about grit??? Something bugging me is that when I'm wiping the plate I get little circles (when i'm wiping in circular motion), of darker streaks. They mostly show up in the darks, and when I wipe over it by hand I feel little "gritty" stuff. Anyone else?