[Alt-photo] Re: Brushing gelatin on paper

Diana Bloomfield dlhbloomfield at gmail.com
Sun Dec 15 17:45:13 UTC 2013

Hi Luciano,

This is just my experience, but when I used to size with gelatin, I never felt I got things quite right, and once I started printing-- it worked out okay-- no staining-- but I could always see a difference where the gelatin went on too lightly in places.  I suspect the paper I was using was textured enough that the gelatin was never absorbed evenly across the page.  That unevenness always showed up in the final print (enough to bother me, though maybe others didn't notice it).

And I'm sure lots of people still size their papers for gum, but there are at least two papers out there that I've been using that require no sizing at all (and I've made many multiple layers on prints). Other people on the list use them as well-- which is where I got the information.  I also don't pre-shrink these papers, and have made prints up to 17x17.  Maybe they would be fine bigger, too, but I don't currently have the capability of making bigger prints.  

One of the papers is Fabriano soft-press 140 lb; the other is BFK Rives heavyweight.  I use both, and only just started using the BFK this past year.  They're terrific.  And as long as they keep making these papers the way they're made now, I would never go back to gelatin sizing (or any sizing) for gum printing.

So when I read your description here, it just sounds so time-consuming and tiresome and primitive-- when you really don't need to do it all.  Why not try one of these papers, and don't bother with sizing?  


On Dec 15, 2013, at 12:30 PM, Luciano Teghillo wrote:

> Hi All,
> I have been looming in the back an enjoyed the wealth of information all of
> you share. Of course I have not shared nothing because...well, I am just
> getting my feet (actually my paper) wet, as you will see.
> I have a question on brushing gelatin on paper. I have prepared the usual
> mix of 30% gelatin and kept it at about 45-50 C and brushed it with a foam
> brush on the print side of my Fabriano Rosaspina paper.
> I brushed on two coats, after letting the first one dry for a day. This
> morning I was getting ready to harden the paper in formalin but I had the
> bad idea of comparing my sheets of paper with a couple of scraps of papers I
> have from two previous workshops.
> The papers I was using as a comparison where noticeably more yellow (both
> Fabriano Artistico, Traditional White) when looked on a light table, so my
> doubt is that my paper did not receive enough gelatin. Of course I cannot be
> sure because the samples I used for comparison have been tray sized and not
> brush sized. Also, for least one, the gelatin used is similar to Knox
> (Paneangeli for the Italians), while I used Photographers' Formulary Hard
> Gelatin (250 Bloom).
> Also when I compare my sized paper against a sheet of the same unsized
> paper, I cannot see any discernable difference, even under an 8x loupe.
> When brushing I load the foam brush, and move horizontally, vertically and
> diagonally with speed (not quite the same as when you coat with pigment, but
> almost), and make sure the brushing is uniform by looking at the surface
> from an angle. 
> Maybe I brush to fast and "pull" the gelatin too much that it does not get
> into the paper?
> Since I have already wasted and entire set of Fabriano Artistico that I
> presume I sized incorrectly, I want to make sure this time I do it
> correctly.
> Maybe is something totally unrelated to sizing. Maybe I should harden the
> gelatin before making a comparison.
> I  tried to scan the paper samples (mine and those used as a comparison)
> it's useless. You can only see the paper ridges and valleys, but nothing
> else.
> I have posted however two images on a previous test I did. The only thing
> different between the two tests is the paper. Everything else is the same,
> done on the same day, developed for the same time, etc.
> - http://www.lucianoteghillo.com/images/test01.jpg - This paper was sized by
> someone else.
> - http://www.lucianoteghillo.com/images/test02.jpg - This is the paper I
> sized on a previous batch.
> Feeling frustrated....
> Thanks for any help,
> Luciano
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