The Camera and the Pen

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    RELIEF blocks produced without the aid of the engraver are now extremely common—rarely do blocks of any other kind appear in NATURE—yet it is astonishing how very hazy are the ideas which the majority of people have as to the way they are made. In this slender volume will be found a sketch of the methods employed to produce line blocks and half-tone blocks, and we trust it will be widely read; for a knowledge of the possibilities of process work would often save the production of a bad block. The simplest form of process block is that made from line drawings, or pen-and-ink sketches. To obtain the best effect, the drawing should be made on Bristol board, or similar white surface, in very black ink. Liquid india ink is commonly used, but Stephens' ebony stain is sometimes preferred. This is photographed by the process worker, and, by a simple arrangement, a reversed negative is obtained. A sheet of zinc, covered with a substance which becomes insoluble after exposure to light, is placed in contact with this negative, and afterwards the unaltered parts are washed or rubbed off. The zinc plate thus marked is then etched, and eventually mounted on wood ready for the printing machine. It will be evident, then, that drawings to be used for the production of blocks in this way should be very distinct, and no lines or marks should be upon them but what are required to appear in the figure. The half-tone process is used for the reproduction of pictures other than line drawings. For illustrations of natural things and phenomena, where accuracy is all-important, reproduction by photographic process may be said to be essential. The only conditions for satisfactory results are clear pictures, which may be either negatives or positives.

    The Camera and the Pen.

    By T. C. Hepworth Pp. 64. (Bradford: Percy Lund, Humphries, and Co. Ltd., 1896.)

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    The Camera and the Pen. Nature 55, 268 (1897) doi:10.1038/055268a0

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