Carbon Transfer Printing – A Step-by-Step Manual


Carbon Transfer Printing is a book about one of the earliest photographic processes that provided the first permanent printing methods, available in one form or another for over 150 years. This book reviews the extensive history of carbon transfer and related pigment processes in both monochrome and color, to serve as point source for a new carbon printer to begin to master the craft of carbon printing, as well as provide new material for experienced carbon printers so they can expand their techniques. The book includes never-before-published information on pre-sensitizing carbon tissue with newly identified compounds, information on the safe use and disposal of hexavalent chromium compounds, and simplified methods of producing 3-color carbon prints.

Carbon Transfer Printing is divided into two parts, illustrated with 175 photographs. Part One is a complete how-to on the carbon transfer process, from simple to complex, with a troubleshooting guide and an extensive chapter on digital negatives. Part Two is devoted to contemporary carbon printers who share their methods and secrets to creating their beautiful carbon prints.

Topics that the book covers are:

    • Key events in carbon’s history
    • How to organize the carbon workplace
    • Sections on necessary supplies and equipment
    • A step-by-step digital method of making high quality digital negatives
    • Simple and advanced methods of carbon printing
    • How to make carbon tissue, including several methods of pre-sensitizing
    • How to choose UV light sources for printing in carbon
    • Step-by-step processing directions
    • How to prepare final support papers
    • Troubleshooting carbon
    • Multi-layer printing to add tone, or make a full color carbon print
    • Finishing and final presentation of carbon prints
  • A gallery of images and advice from contemporary carbon printers

Carbon Transfer Printing is designed for both the beginning carbon enthusiast as well as for the advanced practitioner. Backed with extensive research on carbon printing from books, journals, and magazine articles from the 1800s to present day, and the extensive personal experience in carbon printing of the authors, there is enough information in this book to provide inspiration and proof of both the glorious past of carbon printmaking and its enduring importance to a new generation of image makers who value the handmade print.

Photographs from Australian artists: Ellie Young