PREPARING FOR PIGMENTING.
The print must now be placed on a pad consisting of several thicknesses of thoroughly wet blotting paper laid on a sheet of *stout glass. A roller squeegee passed lightly over the blotting paper will drive out superfluous water while leaving the paper still quite wet. The print is now laid down and its surface gently wiped or dabbed with a piece of well-washed butter muslin, or a clean soft linen handkerchief. This must be done more gently than in the case of an oil print. When the surface is free from any visible moisture it is ready for the application of the ink or pigment. The Sinclair inks are those I have been using since their introduction. They dry quickly and without loss of lustre, and work well with either hog-hair or fitch brushes. I find it usually necessary to thin them a little on the ground opal palette with the special thinning medium, but this must be done gradually until just that consistency is obtained which suits the particular print in hand. The pigmenting of a Bromoil may be done rather more boldly than in the case of an oil and with a dabbing action, but I do not advocate the application of an excess of ink, for while it may be found easy enough to get the pigment off the lighter parts the shadows may not yield up the ink so readily, and a rather hard print may result.
DETAILS OF PIGMENTING.
Beginners find much difficulty in pigmenting the prints, and have no idea how much ink to put on the brushes, or how to transfer the ink from the brush to the print. The following materials are required : A Palette - preferably a piece of plate glass, ground on one side about 9 x 7 inches.
A Palette Knife.
Some Pigments in pots or tubes.
A Tube of Medium.
As many Brushes as the worker can afford, of various sizes.
* A Hewitt Bromide Desk will be found a great convenience. Ed.
It is important to use the proper kind of brush. Cheap brushes are a delusion. The proper kind are made from hair of the pole-cat, and have the hairs arranged in the shape of a stag's foot. While two or three brushes may be ample for small work, from nine to twelve will not be too many for 12 x 10 prints. Perhaps the most useful brush for any size up to 10 x 8 is No. 14, and in any case, where only one brush is required for trial work, I do not suggest a smaller size than No. 12. These should be supplemented with a few smaller brushes for detail work.
Brush Action. Fig. 1.
Fig. 2. C. H. Hewitt.
To start work squeeze out some pigment on one corner of the palette, and by its side a little of the medium. Add ever so little medium to the ink by means of the palette knife, and gradually work up the mixture to the consistency of putty and spread it down the palette, so that there is a very thin coating. If the brush is now dabbed on the palette where the pigment is thin, with a quick action it soon gets a little on the tips of the hairs, the only part where it is required. A few taps on the clean portion of the palette will equalize the pigment, and if it is right for starting work it will show by giving an even deposit or stipple to this part of the palette.
Now for applying the pigment to the print, and there are several ways in which this may be done, though most of them are modifications or combinations of those here illustrated.
Method I. Take the brush charged with pigment and hold it at the end with the first two fingers and the thumb, so that it can swing easily in any direction. Lower the brush on to the print and gently dab the surface with a rapid action, four or five times in a second, and in such a way that the brush hardly leaves the surface of the print as shown in Figure 1. This action may be alternated with that shown in Figure 2 in which the handle of the brush points forward, and this results in each dab or tap forcing the brush gradually from the top to the bottom of the print, the dragging action leaving a little ink in places where the gelatine is receptive. After working for some time all over the print, and getting our picture outlined with the stiff ink, we may slightly reduce the consistency with more medium, and the thinner ink will begin to take in places which rejected the stiff ink, particularly in the half tones of the picture. Where there are strong shadows, be sure to get sufficient of the stiff pigment to form a ground work before reducing the consistency, because the gelatine will only absorb a certain amount of pigment, be it thick or thin, and if we let it absorb thin pigment in the first instance, we may fail to get sufficient depth of colour.