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Author Topic: Best Pen or Pencil to use to sign Prints  (Read 14476 times)
Shrev94412
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« on: August 06, 2012, 10:48:25 PM »
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I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion on best pens or pencils to sign prints. I print typically on Epson 9900 or 4880 using Epson Exhibition Fiber Paper. I would prefer the signature to look like it was signed with a pencil but i cannot get a pencil to write very well on that paper. Any Suggestions?

I hope this is the best place to post this help request. If not, please advise. Thanks
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Ken
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 10:56:23 PM »
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The only thing I have found to work on everything is the Pilot G-Tec-C4 pen. You have to let the writing dry at least 30 seconds before touching it or it will smudge.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 10:58:52 PM by Ken » Logged
Dano Steinhardt
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2012, 11:23:04 PM »
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Exhibition Fiber is a microporous paper and as you mentioned only a pen will work.

Many who sign works on microporous papers use Pigma pens.

Pigma pens are pigment based and acid free.

More info in the link below.

I learned the hard way to be cautious of pens that are only labeled as "permanent".  In some cases, "permanent" refers only to waterfastness, not lightfastness.

http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/Pen-Archival/

Dan (Dano) Steinhardt
Marketing Manager
Epson America, Inc.


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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2012, 03:02:05 AM »
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I learned the hard way to be cautious of pens that are only labeled as "permanent".  In some cases, "permanent" refers only to waterfastness, not lightfastness.

http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/Pen-Archival/

Dan (Dano) Steinhardt
Marketing Manager
Epson America, Inc.


Dano,

Your concern about the lightfastness of the signing pen ink is worth some praise but it would be nice if the paper white of Epson Exhibition Fiber (Signature Worthy category) showed a good lightfastness too. It does not in practice as has been more often mentioned.  It actually has the worst paper white stability of all papers tested by Aardenburg Imaging and there are even differences between batches on that aspect.

Edit, to add the relevant data:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/DigitalBlackandWhiteThePrint/message/104718

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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

340+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
update july 2012: Moab changes, paper sorting by name
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 03:05:18 AM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
PhR
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2012, 06:36:42 AM »
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I use two refillable pens that I fill with some ink from my ConeColor ink bottles. For matte paper I have a pen with matte black and for glossy, another one with photo black. They are very consistent with my Epson printer : they can clogg if I do not use them often enough :-) This way my signature should last as long as the print...

Philippe
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2012, 08:26:01 AM »
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Dano,

Your concern about the lightfastness of the signing pen ink is worth some praise but it would be nice if the paper white of Epson Exhibition Fiber (Signature Worthy category) showed a good lightfastness too. It does not in practice as has been more often mentioned.  It actually has the worst paper white stability of all papers tested by Aardenburg Imaging and there are even differences between batches on that aspect.

Edit, to add the relevant data:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/DigitalBlackandWhiteThePrint/message/104718

--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

340+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
update july 2012: Moab changes, paper sorting by name

I thought this thread is seeking advice about pens, not OBA degradation. What's the connection?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2012, 09:17:45 AM »
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I thought this thread is seeking advice about pens, not OBA degradation. What's the connection?

The connection is the concern about the lightfastness of the pen ink on a paper that does not have the basic lightfastness to make someone worry about the pen ink. Throw in the Epson created paper category Signature Worthy and Dano as an Epson representative here and I see enough connections.

--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

340+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
update july 2012: Moab changes, paper sorting by name
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2012, 09:22:53 AM »
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Frankly Ernst, the two things are completely unrelated. A pen ink can be lightfast whether the OBAs are permanent or fade, and the contribution from Dan Steinhardt was very simply a helpful response to what the OP wanted to know. But you've made your point and I've made mine, so I'll leave it at that.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
MHMG
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2012, 09:24:01 AM »
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Exhibition Fiber is a microporous paper and as you mentioned only a pen will work.

Many who sign works on microporous papers use Pigma pens.

Pigma pens are pigment based and acid free.

More info in the link below.

I learned the hard way to be cautious of pens that are only labeled as "permanent".  In some cases, "permanent" refers only to waterfastness, not lightfastness.

http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/Pen-Archival/


+1 for the micron pigma pens. I use them to mark samples in my light fade tests, and the black pigment holds up exceptionally well. Haven't tested other Pigma colors, but then again, for the purposes of signing prints, black ink is a common choice.

Another good pen for this purpose is the Staedtler Lumocolor pen (http://www.staedtler.com/Lumocolor_permanent_universal_pen_gb , again, I have only experience with the black ink). Whereas the Pigma pens are technical drawing pens which produce a very consistent fine line width, the Staedtler lumocolor is more of a felt tip pen which produces somewhat wider line width and with more line width variation as one applies varying pressure to the tip. This leads to a signature aesthetic somewhat more approaching calligraphy whereas the Pigma pens provide an appearance of precise craftsmanship. Depending on artist's intent, size of print and nature of the art, you may find reasons to have both pen types on hand.

As, Dano pointed out "permanent" marking pens commonly mean water resistant (ie. can go through the laundry without bleeding much), but not necessarily lightfast. What's more disingenuous is when pen makers call their pens "archival" which implies both water fastness and lightfastness yet the ink doesn't deserve such labeling. I've run into numerous pens in that category. The two brands noted above are good safe bets for signing on microporous inkjet media.

Lastly, +1 for the wise approach taken by Phillipe by repurposing some of the black inkjet ink and using it in a refillable pen. This approach does provide a reasonable guarantee that the signature will hold up at least as well as the print under whatever storage and display conditions the print is subjected to over time.

best,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 09:45:00 AM by MHMG » Logged
MHMG
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2012, 10:12:10 AM »
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The only thing I have found to work on everything is the Pilot G-Tec-C4 pen. You have to let the writing dry at least 30 seconds before touching it or it will smudge.

As I understand it, this G-Tec Pen uses Pilot's gel type ink formulation. I've tried a roller-ball pen version of this Pilot Gel type ink. Writes great on most all inkjet media, but lightfastness is very poor. It doesn't really seem to fade to a lighter color so much as it just seems to "evaporate" or "ablate" in my light fade tests. The line width gets skinnier and skinnier until the writing breaks down into disconnected lines and finally disappears altogether.  Strange light fading behavior!

regards,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 10:17:02 AM by MHMG » Logged
KeithR
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2012, 07:35:56 PM »
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After reading peoples replies a while back, to the age old question of what to use, I decided to try the Pigma Micron pens. They were fine but I found them drying out very fast so I kept looking. I was in an art supply store(Dick Blick-I think) last fall and tried out a few of the brands they had on hand(including the PM) and came upon the Prismacolor Premire. The label lists Archival, Acid Free, & lightfast. Conforms to ASTM D-4236, Non-Toxic. Many colors and widths(I pick the .03 & .05) in black. Very nice, resonably priced and hasn't dried out!
From the Dick Blick site:
http://www.dickblick.com/products/prismacolor-premier-illustration-markers/?clickTracking=true
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Shrev94412
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2012, 01:10:42 PM »
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Thanks everyone for all the responses. Once again proves how valuable the LL resource is and all the wonderful people that are a part of the photography community. I will try out some of the suggestions as indicated above. Thanks!
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BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2012, 04:01:21 PM »
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I have recently been using a Copic Multiliner in a 0.3 width in a cool gray.  It is described as being pigment-based, waterproof and archival.  I much prefer using something in gray (and a softer or lighter gray at that) rather than black, as I feel the softer look distracts less from the image (and actually looks more like the "traditional" signature in pencil).  I haven't had enough experience with it to know how "archival" it is; I've been hoping.  --Barbara
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Luca Ragogna
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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2012, 08:31:48 PM »
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Go to any art store and buy any pigment based marker.
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JohnHeerema
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2012, 10:11:33 PM »
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What I often do, may or may not be artistically valid - I sign using a pressure-sensitive tablet, and print the signature along with the print (purists, feel free to cringe). This lets me use any colour I want, and lets me re-do the signature if I don't like it.

Now, if I sign each print individually, does it  count as an original signature? Smiley
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Ken
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2012, 11:53:48 PM »
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"I sign using a pressure-sensitive tablet, and print the signature along with the print (purists, feel free to cringe)."

I don't know of any gallery that considers a printed signature as "signed".
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 11:56:07 PM by Ken » Logged
Richard.Wills
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« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2012, 07:13:14 AM »
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Has any one (Mark) tested the stability of Rotring technical inks - here in Europe, they were the alternate to the Mars_Steadtler pens for line work. I'd always assumed the inks to be good long lasting pigments.

They offer an art pen, which is a calligraphy nib pen, which can be loaded up with the technical inks http://www.rotring.com/en/produkte/technisches_zeichnen/zubehoer.php - might make a nice combination of permanence (or load with Epson / Cone inks) with creative flourish.

(We run out a fair number of artist prints on our 9800 and 8300, and often get the question of what to use)
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2012, 07:50:30 AM »
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The Mars Staedtler Marsmatic 700 can be filled with inkjet inks and so can similar Rötring types.  I use them with black and lighter gray Vivera pigment inks for retouching and on gloss and finer matte coatings they can be used for signing. On any rougher paper surfaces they tend to scrape and get clogged with the coating. Usually signing here is done with B6 pencils on the matte coatings. The inkjet inks behave better in the pens than the original inks in my experience but lately two were clogged which was undone with an ultrasonic bath.


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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

340+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
update july 2012: Moab changes, paper sorting by name
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AndyS
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« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2012, 01:56:48 PM »
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Interesting to hear that majority of responses are based around pigment ink pens. I have to confess that I normally use 3B pencil, having assumed that carbon is fairly stable.

Is their anything inherently wrong with pencil for signing prints? Appreciate some papers may not take pencil very well, but I am currently using Photo Rag for most of my work so this isn't a problem.

Just interested to know if I really ought to think about changing my ways Smiley

Andrew.
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2012, 06:04:48 PM »
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Interesting to hear that majority of responses are based around pigment ink pens. I have to confess that I normally use 3B pencil, having assumed that carbon is fairly stable.

Is their anything inherently wrong with pencil for signing prints? Appreciate some papers may not take pencil very well, but I am currently using Photo Rag for most of my work so this isn't a problem.

Just interested to know if I really ought to think about changing my ways Smiley

Andrew.

As far as I know pencil is fine. I use pencil on mat finished papers and pigment ink on everything else.
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