Cyanotype + Prismacolor Pencils

Sea Palm I, Prismacolor over cyanotype, copyright 2023 Douglas Stockdale

At the moment, I am waiting for the results of today’s solar cyanotype printing to dry-down, as I find the final results for a cyanotype print are not fully revealed until the following day. Something about that dry-down process. This is going to be a confirmation of what I think is going to be my digital negative adjustment curve for the cyanotype paper, water processing and Dmax exposure times. So far, looking good!

Meanwhile, back in the studio, I have been experimenting some more with adding color to my cyanotype prints that did not initially pass muster. When printing the cyanotype on 100 lb watercolor paper, there is always a potential for additional experimenting even when the print is not initially ‘successful’. When I first tried using watercolors on my cyanotypes (here), it was actually with the intent that I would eventually incorporate Gum Bichromate printing into my printing process. As I continue to study Gum printing results, now I am not so sure that this is an immediate goal; the various Gum layers for each color seem to steadily soften the resulting print image. While hand applying watercolor and Prismacolor pencils do not appear to effect the appearance as much. Granted, the cyanotype print on 100 lb hot press watercolor paper is still relatively soft and low contrast, similar to the idea of inkjet printing on matte papers (cyanotype prints are even lower contrast than almost all inkjet matte papers).

One of the issues with watercolor is control, even when painting dry on dry for a tight look. The good news if I use transparent watercolor (not all watercolors are transparent), I can create some interesting results. So I wanted to experiment with Prismacolor pencils over a couple of cyanotype prints that were in my ‘re-work’ pile. Depending on the pressure applied, it’s possible to obtain a slightly translucent to a really opaque appearance. That allows the underlying lines and textures of the original cyanotype to create more interest and depth.

Using the Prismacolor pencils also appeals to my interests in drawing and graphics. I feel very comfortable with the ways to apply the Primacolor to the Cyanotype print, a recent example, above. One aspect of a straight lower-contrast cyanotype print that sometimes bothers me is the lack of a real dark black. With the Prismacolors I can correct that with a couple of different black colors I use and I think this results in more depth to the image when I color these prints.

Also thinking about how I would consider printing images in a series again, such as for Sea Palm I, I have a series of five prints that are straight cyanotypes, and now there is this one, hand-colored, which is very unique. And of course, if I were to sell it, what price? Probably more than the series of straight solar cyanotypes…I will figure this out shortly. LoL Meanwhile, if you are intrigued in this print and would like to provide it with a new home, let me know to put you on the interest list.

Above: Sea Palm I, Prismacolor over solar Cyanotype, unique, 8 x 10″ image on a 11 x 14 sheet of 100 lb watercolor.

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 (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; February 25, 26 & March 4 & 5th 2023; from 10am – 1 pm, EST (3 hour session each day, with a week between the weekend sessions to work your book-dummy). 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: