xerox lithography

1. Make a fresh xerox

2. You want to make a thin gum solution, so add 1 part gum arabic, 1 part water in a bowl.

3. Coat an area of the plexiglas plate with gum arabic and place the photocopy on top of this area with image facing up. If you have difficulty with wrinkling, lift up the photocopy and re-apply a small amount of gum arabic to plexiglas and lay the paper down in sections wiping it on the top with a sponge dipped in gum arabic to smooth out wrinkles. When the paper is fully adhered give it one final light coat of gum arabic. Be gentle

4. Roll up some oil based ink and roll your brayer over the copy gently. It might roll up with your roller so start from the center and roll to the edges.
The ink should roll smoothly and not be too tacky. You may need to add (linseed or stone-)oil to the right consistency.
Mix only enough ink for one print at a time because it gets contaminated with paper fibres and gum arabic.
Each time you reload the brayer, roll it on newsprint to remove any gum arabic that might be picked up from the photocopy.

I like to give the plate one consistent coat of ink and then remove the ink with a sponge and water. Some artists prefer to apply several very light coats of ink using water and a sponge to remove the ink between each coat. You will have to see what works best for you. Be aware that too many applications of ink followed by water to remove it will eventually break down the photocopy paper which is serving as your plate.

5. You need to keep sponging to remove the excess ink and to keep the copy wet, so sponge, then roll, then sponge, then roll.

6. The toner will appear glossy from ink when it’s ready. Sometimes this is very quick.

7. Once it’s wet, it’s very fragile, so be careful when peeling the inked copy off of the glass. Run this through the press onto paper or fabric under some good pressure. I usually set it on a plexi plate, but you don’t have to.

If you want to start a new print, clean the roller and ink area and any additional ink that might have transferred to your work area or plexiglas plate. Start a new batch of ink. Baby oil or vegetable oil works well to clean up equipment and work areas.

1. Make good quality XEROX photocopies with a heavy, dark-as-possible and well-fused layer of toner. It’s a good idea to make several of the image you want to work with, as they do break down after a few transfers. The best copy machines use dense toner which is fused tightly to the paper; never use ink jet or laser copies

2. Help the xerox copy “age” a bit by placing it face up on a hotplate to “bake” the toner for a few minutes (it stabilizes the toner a wee bit more).

3. Paint a very thin and even coat of Zisser Amber Shellac on the backside of the photocopy; this strengthens the toner and the paper; let it dry. (a sponge brush works well)

4. Use Dan Smith #79 Relief Ink, or G.C.#1796 Litho Ink modified with Setswell; you must significantly reduce the tack and body of the ink or it will lift the toner off the paper.

5. Use a solution of 1/3 gum arabic to 2/3 water. Spread a little solution on a glass or plexi palette; place the photocopy face up on the solution. Pour a little bit more of the solution onto the copy and let it soak in evenly; then reduce to a damp film gently with a soft-hair brush (hake is great) before rolling it up with ink.

6. Roll it up GENTLY with a small soft rubber brayer, being careful to keep the copy damp with the brush (but not wet); sponges tend to abrade paper which then causes the paper to scum badly. If the paper does scum, squeeze a generous amount of the gum/water solution onto the copy; this should dislodge a lot of the scumming ink. If unable to rescue the Xerox, switch to another copy of the same image.

7. When image is charged place inky side face down onto your choice of surface*; you may want to print it directly to paper or offset it to another surface first; either way cover it with fresh wax paper and then newsprint and send it through the press with medium light pressure, or offset by hand pressure with a baren and a bone-folder.

*You can transfer the inky image onto Plexiglas/mylar and work it up like a monotype, or print it directly on to paper (or transfer it to a woodblock/linoleum/copper etching plate/litho stone etc. to be further developed). The image will be strongest when printed directly onto paper, as each transfer process will slightly degrade the clarity and detail of the original image.

Instructions for Gum Printing
The Ink Shop Printmaking Center 2008

Prepare photocopy – cut exactly to size and shape desired.
Mix 2/3 gum arabic to 1/3 water in bowl.
Apply puddle of gum solution to the table with clean sponge.
Place photocopy face up onto the gum solution, and add more solution to the top face.
Make sure paper relaxes, and wrinkles are flattened, by sponging from the center to the edges of the Xerox.
Add straight gum arabic to the top face of the Xerox, gently massaging with your fingers, especially in the white areas.
Wipe away excess gum solution with the clean sponge, cleaning around all sides of the photocopy.
Ink up the brayer with a light layer of lithographic ink (mixed with a dollop of setswell compound).
Using a light touch, roll over the Xerox with the inked brayer, starting from the center and rolling out to the edges (to prevent the Xerox from rolling onto the brayer).
In between roll-ups, gently sponge the surface with water. Re-ink up to a maximum of 2 – 3 passes.
Place dampened paper on the press bed, and place the Xerox image face down on the paper.
Cover with newsprint and press blankets, and print.

add to it, some shellac on the back of the photocopy paper and it just prints and prints – plus then one can make extra large photocopies without the risk of tearing

1 – Apply a thin layer of gum to the xerox and buff off the excess. Allow to dry. It will curl a bit.

2 – Roll up the DRY gummed xerox with ink. This feels wrong from any other litho technique, but it works. The xerox very durable in this state. Apply a thin layer of ink.

3 – Dip rolled up xerox in a bowl of water. This loosens the gum, and the ink siting on top.

4 – Wipe the excess ink and gum from the xerox. Use the corner of your sponge and wipe until all excess ink is removed.

5 – Print.

I find this method allows the xerox to be more durable.

Do not use recycled copy paper because it falls apart.
mix the oil paints with a drop or two of linseed oil until smooth

Hi — this is how we do it at the studio in London to make a lithographic transfer–seems less complicated than the previous suggestions but works generally with a variety of artists’ work.

I. make xerox copy
2. almost immediately( important) spray back of copy with aerosol fixative
3. put copy face down on prepared ( prepasoled) litho plate that is slightlydamped with clean sponge
4 put through press litho or etching with sufficient packing to ensure adhesion of copy to plate ( you may want to run through two or three times depending on firmness of pressure
5 remove copy – there should be a transfer image now on the litho plate – you may wish to stenghten any part at this stage that haven’t appreared ( by using standard litho drawing crayons or tousche) but generally you will find all or most of the image has been transferred
6. gum carefully by using intitally a weak solution of gun arabic dabbed on image – dry
7. gum again using a normal thickness of gum arabic -dry
8. process in the normal way one would a litho plate ( can also be used with marginally less succes on stone)

You should be able to print off up to hundred copies. We have used this methos at Lithostudio and at Curwen Studio in London with a number of artists I recall working with Henry Moore, John Piper and Jim Dine using this method.

John White LithoStudio London