Cyanotype versus Prussian Blue gum print

Anthropogenic Crisis #065425 copyright 2021 Douglas Stockdale –

In between printing the interior pages of my new artist book, I have a pdf open regarding the basics of gum bichromate printing that I read while the printer hums along. In thinking about the gum printing, I was initially intrigued with the process of printing an initial platinum-palladium print and then three or more gum bichromate layers over top to finish the gum print. In the gum print article I am reading now (Christopher James, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: 3rd Edition, 2015) is the suggestion of an alternative process of printing a cyanotype as the first layer and using the Prussian Blue of the cyanotype to replace a Cyan gum layer.

So as I have been gathering my list of supplies to purchase for the gum printing, this idea of making a cyanotype had me thinking about blue prints, such as my Anthropogenic Crisis #065425, above and which hangs behind my desk. Being a Charlie-Brown kinda of guy, I have been flopping back and forth as to where to start my gum printing experimentation and which image would should I play with first?

If I were to start with a Cyanotype/Prussian Blue layer, do I need to mess with another set of chemicals for a cyanotype or print a Prussian Blue gum print to start in a vain attempt to keep this process (and amount of chemicals) to a minimum? Btw, I have also been thinking that rather than getting into the weeds with platinum-palladium printing, perhaps an initial gum print using Paynes Gray, Ivory Black (a warm black) or Davy’s Gray image to layer the other three colors, which is where the idea of a Prussian Blue gum print seems kinda of cool.

This has brought me back to really studying my archival pigment print of Anthropogenic Crisis #065425 and the colors that are present; this is not exactly a mono-color print. Thus if I were to create a mono-color Prussian Blue gum print, it would not look the same. Hmmmmm. Looking at the corresponding CMY layers (using Multichannel) to see what lies underneath this image file it is obvious that a single mono-color gum print will not look the same as my archival pigment on the wall (and above). So it appears that I will need make one print with the Cyan negative with the Prussian Blue as a base and then print another version adding the Yellow and Magenta gum layers to compare it with. Btw, while trying to sort this out, I have created my first set of Gum Negative for a CMYK print, now I just need to obtain Pictorico Ultra Premium OHP (over head print) to print these on to create my contact negatives. Cool!

Then which of my gray/blacks gum layers to either go over the top of the CMY layers or underneath as a base layer, printing that gum layer first as I might with a platinum-palladium base print. Appears that I will probably need to make four or five prints for evaluation, probably more if I don’t get the sun-exposure just right. fun, fun, fun, as this is getting rather exciting…

Cheers & make every day an Earth Day



 The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, an artist book from Singular Images Press, Fall 2022 release, $60.00 (plus CA sales tax for those residing in the USA plus shipping expenses). Message me or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice. 

Note: The Artist Special Edition (book + extra print) is Sold Out


Book workshop:

Southeast Center for Photography (SEC4P): Creative PhotoBook workshop (Sold Out), a virtual event on Zoom; November 5 & 6 and 12 & 13, 2022, 10am – 1pm, EST (3 hour session each day, with a week between the weekend sessions to work your book-dummy). Wait list available for sign-up.


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