Writing on the back of prints

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by lew, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. lew

    lew Guest

    I'm starting to write notes on the back of my prints so I'm wondering about
    the long term effects re pigments migrating through to the front, spreading
    out and/or compromising the archival properties of the print. I'm using a
    china marker, what about a #2 pencil or ball point pen? Are there different
    considerations re rc vs fb papers?
    -Lew
     
    lew, Dec 20, 2005
    #1
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  2. I've never been afraid to use a pencil for notations on the back of the
    print. Quite often, I write exposure / contrast / dodge&burn settings on the
    back of the print before it is exposed and processed. Pencil doesn't migrate
    when damp. Be sure to write lightly so that you don't emboss the paper
    through to the front - using a hard, smooth writing surface helps prevent
    that.

    Because of the surface coating on RC papers, you'll find it difficult to
    write anything in pencil. Some RC papers have a coatings on the back that
    take pencil better than others, but never as good as non-RC papers. On the
    other hand, the plastic coating will resist ink bleed-through better than
    fiber paper should you choose ink. I buy special archival pigment pens from
    a local art store for writing on prints in ink when I need to. I NEVER use
    commonly available Sharpie markers though - I've seen too many of them bleed
    over time on many different surfaces including plastics.

    If I use ink on any paper, I try to contain all notes to the white margin
    area so that potential bleed-through won't affect anything in the picture
    area.

    Bill Schneider
     
    William Schneider, Dec 20, 2005
    #2
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  3. A good test for bleed-through is to see if the ink can be removed. If
    pure white paper/stuff is left then the ink isn't going into the paper.

    FWIW a fresh Sharpie brand marker on the back of Kodak RC paper can be
    removed with PEC-12, leaving only a very faint mark. A 2-year old
    mark on the back of Ilford RC leaves the same very faint mark.

    My conclusion is permanent marker doesn't penetrate RC paper. Real
    long term, well, if I could predict the future I'd be on Wall Street
    and not Usenet.

    I would not sell an RC print w/ magic marker on the back. But then
    I don't sell RC prints. I mean if it's something for posterity, or
    a print someone spent a $100 on, then what in blazes is 25 cents
    extra for FB paper?
     
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Dec 20, 2005
    #3
  4. For RC paper, I use a china marker.
    For fibre paper, I use a #3B or #4B pencil. You do not make sharp points
    with such soft pencils, and you do not need to press as hard as for an HB
    (#2) pencil.
     
    Jean-David Beyer, Dec 20, 2005
    #4
  5. lew

    lew Guest

    Any reason not to use the china marker on fb prints?
     
    lew, Dec 20, 2005
    #5
  6. lew

    Mike King Guest

    Writing on the back of RC, I use a really soft pencil and make sure that I
    write on a hard surface to minimize the effect of press through to the
    surface of the print. Two pencils I have right now in the darkroom that
    work well are a Sanford Design Drawing 3800 6B and a Prang Drawing 3B. Some
    very soft pencils have hard bits in them, (perhaps from the clay the
    graphite is mixed with?) but these two brands give good results on a tricky
    surface. I have also had better luck with drawing pencils than with
    drafting pencils. And with wood wrapped pencils vs. drawing or drafting
    leads. I usually take a scrap of RC paper along to test before I buy. You
    don't want a really sharp point either. If you use a sharpener blunt down
    the sharp point a bit on a piece of paper or even sandpaper before using on
    prints.

    Ball point works and I like the medium Parker ballpoint in black, seems to
    skip less on most surfaces than cheaper pens (haven't tried the new gel
    refill suspect it would be less satisfactory), but I only use ball point on
    work prints, ditto for Sharpies, etc. Print collectors and museum types
    throw up their hands in horror when they see ink on prints, us mere mortals
    don't sweat that kind of thing, but who am I to frustrate people who will be
    collecting my prints in 150 years! On the other hand, my complaint
    department will have been closed for a long time by then.
     
    Mike King, Dec 20, 2005
    #6
  7. lew

    bill Guest

    The only marking on my prints are the file number and that is on the reverse
    side edge using a gel pen or sharpie fine point. All other info is on a
    seperate sheet of paper and filed with the marked up print and negative.BTW
    my numbering sytem is the date, frame and roll, ie. 122005-16-1.

    Bill
     
    bill, Dec 20, 2005
    #7
  8. It's not a good idea to use ink of unknown composition on your prints or
    negatives -- or other materials stored with them. It can migrate from
    one print to another even if it can't migrate through the coating on an
    RC print; lots of ink is acidic or otherwise not safe long-term for
    silver prints or their paper support.

    When archival pigment pens are readily available, why take the chance?
     
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Dec 20, 2005
    #8
  9. No, it is just my policy. ;-)
     
    Jean-David Beyer, Dec 21, 2005
    #9
  10. lew

    Jan T Guest

    I thought #00 was the softest? Or is this another disagreement concerning
    standards between Europe and US?
    I use a #00 - the softest I can get here - on FB, it writes clearly and
    smoothly, without danger of embossing.

    "Jean-David Beyer" <> schreef in bericht
    | lew wrote:
    | > I'm starting to write notes on the back of my prints so I'm wondering
    about
    | > the long term effects re pigments migrating through to the front,
    spreading
    | > out and/or compromising the archival properties of the print. I'm using
    a
    | > china marker, what about a #2 pencil or ball point pen? Are there
    different
    | > considerations re rc vs fb papers?
    | > -Lew
    | >
    | >
    | For RC paper, I use a china marker.
    | For fibre paper, I use a #3B or #4B pencil. You do not make sharp points
    | with such soft pencils, and you do not need to press as hard as for an HB
    | (#2) pencil.
    |
    | --
    | .~. Jean-David Beyer Registered Linux User 85642.
    | /V\ PGP-Key: 9A2FC99A Registered Machine 241939.
    | /( )\ Shrewsbury, New Jersey http://counter.li.org
    | ^^-^^ 10:30:00 up 23 days, 21:01, 5 users, load average: 4.25, 4.11, 4.08
     
    Jan T, Dec 24, 2005
    #10
  11. I never heard of numbered pencil grades other than #2 and #2.5. If those are
    indicative, I would guess a #0 would be the softest, though, of course #00
    could be softer still.

    Here, pencils go from 9H (the hardest, and useless for anything IMAO, down
    to H. Then there is HB, which is normal, then softer all the way to 9B. I
    have never seen a 9B pencil, but 4B is very very soft. I usually use #3B on
    photographs, and 2H (not on photographs) when doing fine work.
     
    Jean-David Beyer, Dec 24, 2005
    #11
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