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Author Topic: Signatures on Prints in Pencil  (Read 3639 times)
Adam L
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« on: February 04, 2008, 01:03:47 PM »
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I know this question won't improve anyones photography, not even mine.       I'm just a bit curious as to the reasoning or tradition of signing prints in pencil.   It just doesn't seem to be as permanent as ink to me.  Will it last 200 years?  Won't if fade/smudge?
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alainbriot
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2008, 01:48:51 PM »
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Permanence: it depends which ink you use. Only pigmented ink is permanent.  Dye ink is fugitive (it fades). Graphite (pencil lead) is actually extremely permanent.  We have pencil drawings dating back from Da Vinci and way before him.

Why pencil: first, pencil is used on the mat of a matted print, or on prints made on rag paper.  Ink (pigmented) is used on glossy prints since pencil won't adhere to glossy surfaces.  Personally, I think pencil is more aesthetically pleasing --more natural if you will-- than ink on rag paper.  Also, ink has a tendency to soak into rag paper and make a mess.

Since pencil is just as archival as pigmented ink, it esentially boils down to a matter of taste.  I prefer pencil for rag paper and mat board and ink for glossy papers.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 01:49:40 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
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bill t.
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2008, 06:55:52 PM »
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A good quality graphite pencil mark will hold up for a very long time indeed.  I was just this afternoon at the Andrew Smith gallery, lots of pencil signatures looking just fine after all these decades.

But if you're going to sign in ink on gloss, best to use India ink from an old fashioned technical pen.  When proofing I make notes on the borders with a superfine-tipped magic marker pen sold as "Archival".  Some of these marks are starting to spread out after just a few months.
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