Digital fumblings

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Ideas for hybrid ‘tradigital’ works are always lurking in the back of my mind. I’m new to the digital realm and I’m on a steep learning curve figuring out how to create and use my digital images in combination with my traditional printmaking. I’m fumbling my way along the digital path and mucking around with some mobile digital iphone making of paintings, drawings & patterns during snatched spare moments. Some of the iphone art apps are amazingly good and some are amazingly crappy. My eyes have been opened to a whole world of mobile iphoneographers out there. I aim to combine my ‘digital fumblings’ with my traditional printmaking in some way. I’m not sure how the two very different practices are going to come together and manifest as resolved and successful prints?

I realise that you can achieve incredible amounts of detail though digital methods and so I understand the appeal. But for me there is a problem with digital prints. They do impress me when they are on a computer screen but once zapped from their virtual state of being and printed into reality on a 2d paper format they lose appeal due to great lack of ‘surface quality’. The art work surface is ‘dead’ and flat and once the light from the computer screen is no longer part of the equation – the image always seems so dull. Whenever I print out one of my digital images – I’m always so disappointed and I think that it’s better off left in it’s virtual state in computer land.

The surface quality of traditional printmaking work, on the other hand, is tactile. The surfaces sing with texutre and you can see and feel the layering of inks and the embossment from the printing plates. It somehow seems wholesome and real. You can see & feel the story of the ‘physical’ making of the print.

How will I successfully add a surface to my digital prints ? Can I bring them out of the confines of the computer land onto a 2d paper reality and impart a handmade, textural surface quality ? I hope so. I also need to conduct some research into getting some help with doing my digital layouts and printing my digital images onto archival digital printmaking papers using lightfast inkjet. The paper needs to be such that overprinting intaglio plates, embossing etc. will be a possibility.

I’ve posted some digial abstract patterns I’ve been creating from ordinary photographs and iphone apps. My digital finger paintings and drawings are still ‘behind closed doors’ whilst I learn the capabilities of my apps and have a bit more practice.

OK….. Enough thinking out loud for today !!!

Some links re: “TRADIGITAL” printmaking & Iphone Art



7 thoughts on “Digital fumblings

  1. Your experiments interest me. I’ve had an Ipad for a week and I’m enjoying doing some digital work with ‘Brushes’ and also ‘Paper’. I’ve used Photoshop in the past but like the portability of the Ipad. I haven’t tried to print any of them yet but guess that, like you, I will prefer them with the light of the screen behind them.

    As a printmaker, I’ve been wondering again about combining digital and other ‘proper’ printmaking and that this would be easier with relief methods than with intaglio as there are likely to be problems when using damp paper and inkjet inks. I tried out some experiments a few years ago with some digitial pieces created on Photoshop, which I tried to chine colle in with an etching and they were almost successful! (the digital print ink blurred slightly).

    1. Hi Linda, Thanks for your comments. Yes….I was wondering about the soaking of digital prints. At College, I remember printing some of my photographs onto acid free archival hahnemulhe paper, on the BIG MAMA printer in the photographic lab. I can’t remember what sort of printer it was but it used lightfast archival inkjet inks. I don’t recall having a problem with the inks running and blurring when I soaked the photographs for embossing. I will have to experiment. All the best with your artwork Linda, Jo

  2. Hi Jo, Have a look at
    There’s good info. there about printing digital prints, and they also provide a printing service. I buy boxes of photo rag paper for digital printing there . You can get various sizes as well as sample boxes. Also recently printed onto a beautiful kozo paper from MES. They will also send samples.
    A friend in Papermakers of Queensland prints very successfully onto her hand made paper, which she dries on glass, sizes and irons. Looks really brilliant for native plant imagery.

  3. Hi Jo
    I hav’nt visited your blog in ages
    …..very nice to see that my blog about tradigital printmaking was first on your list
    Its really nice to see that artists like yourself are looking at it to research what others have done/ Like you say using archival pigment inks on an inkjet printer is key

    because they don’t run when soaked.

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