Another Gelli Art Print with Photoshop

April 23, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts

Hello friends! I just designed a pile of stencils and stamps, and while I was waiting for the stencils to be made, I decided to cut a couple on my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine and test them out. I pulled out my trusty Gelli Arts Printing plate, and pulled some of the new Golden Inks that I had just ordered. I only had a few colors, and one of them was green which I usually am not a huge fan of. I didn’t even remember ordering that color, but it was only a small bottle so maybe I was trying to get myself to branch out?

Anyhow, I had a pretty successful session, and came away with quite a few prints. I really liked the Golden inks. They are VERY fluid!! The way I liked them best was mixed with some of the normal Golden paints. Maybe 1-2 colors of paint and 1-2 colors of the ink seemed to be about the right mix. The prints with all inks are very juicy as you will see in one of the examples below.

Here was one of the prints with mostly ink. You can see lines where the ink pooled around the stencil…

Gelli Art Photoshop First Print

Gelli Art Photoshop First Print


I then pulled a second print and liked the background a lot better, but the funky circles didn’t come out as detailed…

Gelli Art Photoshop Original

Gelli Art Photoshop Original


I liked the circles in the first but the background in the second. Not to worry- I could combine them in Photoshop, but the selection might be a bit difficult. I tried a trick and it worked to give me some help to isolate the circles for the mask. First of course, I lined the two prints up on different layers in Photoshop. Then I chose the blend mode of exclusion on one of the layers. This made the background more of a consistent color so I could use the quick selection tool to more easily grab the background. Here is what it looked like in Photoshop:

Gelli Art Photoshop Exclusion

Gelli Art Photoshop Exclusion


Once I made my selection, I changed the blend mode to multiply and hit the mask button on the bottom of the layers panel (it looks sort of like a camera- a rectangle with a circle in the middle). The mask was actually backwards from what I wanted, so I clicked on the mask in the layers panel and used Ctrl-I in order to invert the mask.

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final


I played around with opacity and arrived at the final print…

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

The final print has the best of both original prints- the background I liked from the second with the more detailed circles from the first! Give it a shot yourself!

And now I really like that green color, so I am going to need to order a bigger bottle ;)

Gampi Paper Prints

September 26, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

I have printed on regular white tissue paper before, but I just got some cool tissue paper, called Gampi paper. It is sheer, but has an aged feel to it, because it has a slight brown tint. I decided to try to print on it, and see how it looked layerd on some paper I had laying around the studio.

First- how to print. The easiest thing to do, is find a spray adhesive that is removable. I use a spray by CC International called Stick and Spray. It comes in a purple spray can, and a little goes a long way. Some folks (myself included) use it to refresh the stickiness on our cutting mats for our digital cutters. For this purpose, spray a light coating onto paper the size you want to print. I normally use 8.5 x 11 inch copy paper. Let it dry, so it will be non-permanent. I also take the paper and lay it sprayed side down onto carpet, so it removes even more of the stickiness.

Then I cut the Gampi paper to fit the sprayed paper and adhere it. Run it through the printer, and voila- a tissue print! Gampi also seems to be a bit less fragile than the regular white tissue paper, so that is nice.

I use medium to adhere the tissue print to another piece of paper or a print or a canvas. I am not choosy about the medium I use- gel medium, matte medium, clear gesso, polymer medium- they all work fine.

Here is one print I layered over shimmery gold cardstock. I am not sure the photo does it justice. In real life, it looks lovely with the shimmery gold peeking through. I have also layered it over glitter paper, although that is even harder to photograph.


Gampi paper on shimmery


Here is another tissue print I layered onto old sheet music. I would re-do this again, and probably soften the sheet music by painting it with a light, watered down (to make it sheer) coat of gesso, so it isn’t competing as much with the tissue print.


Gampi paper on old sheet music


Here is another sample where I layered the tissue print onto lacy, rice paper.

Gampi paper on rice paper


This final print could be layered over something else, as both the lace paper, as well as the Gampi, allow you to see though it. Try some tissue prints for a soft, layered look!

Canson Prints on Epson 3800 desaturated, DUH

August 31, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

If you have arrived here, it may be because you are like me. You own a nice inkjet printer, decided to try some nicer papers on it, and had some issues with the print. In my case, they were desaturated. If you are also like me, you are not a color managemnt guru, and so trying to figure out what is wrong, can be frustrating, at best. If you want to get a head start, go ahead and walk over to your printer and look at it. Really look at it. Do you see the printer model number?

SIDEBAR: I am a software engineer by trade. I live day to day with  hardware and multiple levels of software that all interact. Very often things go wrong, and in trying to figure out what the issue is, you end up going down these winding trails of code, doing research, trying this, trying that, and then repeating the entire process until you finally find the mistake in the code or the disconnect between two pieces of software. So that is how I typically approach any issues I run into at home. Usually it helps. In this particular case it didn’t, as you will see.

So, I was up late one night trying to print something from Photoshop on this new Canson Rag Photographique paper I had purchased. It came out of the printer and looked like garbage. The colors were barely visible, the image was totally flat. Frustrated, I tried again, this time double checking my steps in Photoshop. I had the exact same result. Ok, back to the beginning of the process.

So if you are here expecting a lesson in color managment, you came to the wrong place. As I mentioned earlier, I am no guru by any stretch of the imagination. You will have to do more reading online or in books, or take a class to learn how to really do it correctly. There are tons of folks, much better equipped than I , to help you get your color management workflow house in order. If you are really a newbie to all this, in a nutshell, color management is a series of steps that you take to get your image input (to the computer), image manipulation software, and output (printer or screen) to agree on colors. The end result being that the image you scanned, or the photo you took, or the drawing you made, can be shown onscreen or printed out, and it will look like the original and/or what you see on your monitor after perhaps some work you have performed in a photo editor, like Photoshop. That is, the image will be output in the same colors, in the same saturation, with the same vibrance etc. In general, the steps boil down to something along these lines:

  • Make sure your monitor is calibrated. Hardware calibration is best, and the professionals take their monitors and their calibration very seriously.
  • Buy good paper. There are tons of sites/forums where folks will give you their opinions on good paper. I typically use Epson- it works great with my printer, and for my humble needs it was always fine. But I went to a demo on the Canson paper and decided to take advantage of the special they had, and bought some to try.
  • Download and install the matching ICC profile for both the paper you are using and your printer. If you buy good paper, the paper manufacturer’s web site will have the matching ICCs for the paper and for the specific model of printer that you own.
  • If you don’t use Photoshop, I don’t know what the next few steps are, but if you do here is what you do. In Photoshop, when you choose print, in the print dialog, make sure you open the printer preferences, and turn off color management. This differs with each printer, but usually there is something along the lines of an ICM or Color Management setting with an off value. This is so that the printer and Photoshop are not fighting over color management. Make sure that the paper type setting matches the setting that the paper manufacturer suggested that you use for their paper. Usually this is described in the directions for using their ICC profiles. Generally, this will help the printer determine whether to use Matte or Photo ink, gloss optimizer, manual feed for the paper, etc. It is different from the actual ICC profile which is targeted at the color management piece of the printing process.
  • Use the setting in Photoshop on the print panel that says Photoshop will manage colors. Click the selection setting for profile, and make sure that you choose the ICC profile that matches the paper that you are printing on. This was the file you downloaded and installed earlier.
  • Now print. If you did everything correctly, your print will pretty much match what you see on screen.

Mine didn’t. So I did what I always do when I run into a problem. I hit my books and/or the Internet to see where I went wrong. They all were saying the same things, for the most part. Calibrate your monitor, use the ICC profiles, have Photoshop manage the colors etc. I ran across a couple of articles which indicated that, in some cases, having the printer manage the colors seemed to work better, so I tried that.  It is pretty similar to the previous steps, but instead you choose the setting in Photoshop to let the printer handle the colors, and in the printer preferences, instead of setting ICM to off, you choose the ICC profile there for the paper you are using.

That didn’t work either. So, by now I am really frustrated. I think, OK I calibrated my monitor in the day, and haven’t recalibrated when the calibration software warned me to. So I recalibrated. Still the same result. Arrgh. Now I am thinking maybe my monitor is bad. But, by now it is waaaaaay late at night, and I realize I am just spinning in circles here, and I should try again in the morning.

I wake up, bleary eyed from lack of sleep, and try again. Same thing.


Somewhere around the 4th attempt, I happened to notice the printer model on the printer itself. It is a 3880. Are you kidding me?! I was using an ICC profile for a 3800. Sure enough, when I downloaded the correct profile for the ACTUAL model of printer I own, it worked perfectly! So, for those of you who are having a brain cramp, are sleep deprived, are having a senior moment, and/or for whatever other reason are just being a dumbass at that moment, I am adding an initial step in your color management process. I am sure you can guess what it is by now:

  • Go ahead and walk over to your printer and look at it. Really look at it. Do you see the printer model number?

Hopefully, this will save you some time, if you are dorking out like I was the other day. I am glad the tech police were not around, because they might have decided I didn’t deserve the nice printer I own ;-).