Viewers and readers are often interested in knowing what tools artists use in creating their artworks. Today’s technology has been embraced by many artists, as artists always have done over many centuries in their search for new ways of working.

For many years I worked in various techniques of printmaking including drypoint, collagraph, linocuts, woodcuts and etching. In 1998, I began my first digital explorations with a Power Mac 6500 computer, Umax Astra 1200S scanner, an Epson inkjet printer and Adobe PhotoShop 4. Up until then, the darkroom was where I prepared film for photo-etching plates. Now, I could scan in my photographs and manipulate them as I wished, only limited by my knowledge of the software, then print out inkjet film transparencies. Even the new photo-sensitive film, ImagOn and later, Z-Acryl photopolymer emulsions used on the etching plates came from the computer industry.

Since then I have upgraded to an Apple G4 Cube with OS X (Panther), PhotoShop 7, and a wider-format (13″) HP Deskjet 1220 printer. For very large prints, I print at the Art Institute (Printmaking) at Capilano College* where they have a large format HP 5000 PS-UV printer. The printer inks and papers available today are archival, so the technology now truly supports artists’ needs.

I still like to combine etchings with digital prints for the textural, heavily embossed handmade feel. Many of the digital art papers and the waterproof inks allow for the soaking that is necessary for printing etchings.

The immense possibilities in digital image capturing, transformation and the potential for accidental aesthetics are very exciting!

*UPDATE: now University

March 30, 2004 in Art Institute (Printmaking), Digital printmaking, Printmaking, Tools and technology by Marja-Leena