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Thursday, May 13, 2010


Full-size negative or positive transparencies can be made either digitally or photographically: Remember, even if you are working from a color original or planning on printing in color, you must use a black & white, not color, transparency..

You can start with any kind of original-- a black & white print, color print, black&white negative, color negative, color slide, digital photograph, book illustration, etc.

If you have a scanner or digital camera or copier, photograph or scan the image and print it onto transparency film with an inkjet or laser printer (transparency film is available on our website.) You can manipulate the image with a computer as needed, changing it from color to black & white, reversing from positive to negative, etc. For best results use a high-contrast subject. Use the "best" setting of your printer for maximum density in the exposed areas of the transparency. For large prints, you can make multiple transparencies and scotch-tape them together.

Or you can take the original artwork to any office store like Staples, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Kinko's, etc. and order a black & white transparency or set of transparencies made to your specifications.

Under red safelight, enlarge a negative onto a sheet of litho film such as Kodalith. For a full range of tones, develop in Dektol diluted to half its normal working strength. Do not use litho developer, which gives an ultra-high contrast or "line" image. Contact-print the positive transparency onto another piece of litho film to obtain a negative transparency. Avoid overexposure during printing by using a 40-watt bulb at least 4 feet away as a light source.

Instead of litho film, you can make your own full-size negative with Liquid Light or Ag-Plus emulsion on glass or clear acrylic, following the normal procedure for printing on glass. Be sure the glass is prepared for good adhesion as described in the instructions.
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