Carbon Ink Prints

All of Jeff Mann’s original drawings are available as limited edition carbon ink prints. These prints are a unique blend of the old and the new. The use of carbon inks on paper can be traced to the 1760’s with the invention of the aquatint process where a copper plate was wiped with ink. The inked plate and paper were run through an etching press that squeezed the plate onto a sheet of paper, transferring the ink dots to paper. The first carbon ink print process was developed in France in 1856. Modern carbon ink prints have been age tested at over 150 years under display conditions without significant fading with acid free materials. Ancient manuscripts over 1000 years old that used carbon ink on flax paper can be seen in museums today.

For the past year, Mann has been working with fine art photographer and pioneer of Modern carbon Print processing, Paul Roark of Roark Editions. Roark’s inks are made of pure matte black carbon ground with ball bearings to a fine powder. The finely ground carbon pigments are dispersed in an aqueous medium and given an electrical negative charge, which prevents coagulation. Precise dilutions are used to get inks prepared in various densities. Roark fills empty inkjet cartridges with the special mixes to create shades of matte black for each cartridge. QuadToneRip software allows Roark to bypass the printer’s normal driver and control the inkjet printing via custom profiles developed by Roark for detailed image replicating and duplicating.

Through extensive test printing, and adding a few proprietary steps to the process, Roark and Mann worked together to create true carbon ink prints on Arches 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper preserving the original deckled edges and Arches watermarks on all full and half sheets in their editions. The Arches is the same paper that Mann uses for all of the original drawings. His goal was to duplicate and match the original graphite drawings to the highest standard.