Graphic Chemical & Ink Company is a world leader in the fine art field of printmaking. We manufacture our own time-tested inks for etching, litho and relief printing, as well as sell screen print inks, papers, tools, chemistry, plates and supplies for all of a printmaker's needs

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Location: Villa Park, Illinois, United States

I have worked for Graphic Chemical & Ink Company since 1968 - with a brief hiatus(almost 4 years) to travel the World courtesy of my uncle. Sadly it turns out it was my Uncle Sam, and I wasn't too thrilled about the places that he chose to send me. My wife and I have run Graphic Chemical for many years, and have enjoyed the travel that comes with the position. We get to meet our customers (and the occasional vendor) from all over the World

Saturday, August 25, 2007


It has come to my attention that there are a few faithful readers of this blog, and that they are looking for suggestions on specific products. While I've done that a few times, I always feel that we're giving short shrift to the other products. But, I subscribe to the premise that the customer is always right, and even when they're not, they're still the customer.

There's probably no area of printmaking with a wider range of products and preferences than printing papers. We try to carry the broadest line of papers possible, and I think we do a pretty good job of doing just that. So, what's the perfect paper?

That depends upon so many variables that it's virtually impossible to answer. Are you doing Intaglio, Litho, Relief or Screen Print? Are you printing wet or dry? What color do you need?

Many years ago, a very large corporation decided to revolutionize the printmaking market, beginning with their own brand of paper called Art Fabric. They spent a lot of money, and developed a paper could do it all. Well, there was one thing that you couldn't do with it - you couldn't get it to print! Or at least most people couldn't get it to work, and mericfully the experiment ended as quickly as it began.

Might I suggest the best selling "unknown paper" as an alternative? As the story goes, two Chicago area printmakers were sitting around one evening in about 1928,discussing the mythical perfect printmaking sheet - perfect for the way the two of them printed. It needed to be high rag content, it had to wet down easily, only stretch one time under pressure, and had to be affordable. There were other characteristics that they included, too, but the important part of the story is that one of them worked for a paper company. At the end of the discussion, he (I believe his name was Ernie Melchert) said that he thought that this sheet could be made pretty much as they designed it. They, in fact, commissioned a mill run of the paper, used a lot of it themselves and sold it to a handful of friends.

By the early '50's the paper had become the tail wagging the dog. Ernie and F. Leslie Thompson were spending more time selling paper to their friends than they were printing, so they approached Graphic Chemical with a suggestion that Graphic handle the paper, but do do in a way that would allow it to be affordable to printmakers. In the almost 60 years since that happened, we have made one change in the paper - increasing the rag content to the current 100%. Well, that's not entirely true, we did change the name to the current Graphic Heavyweight.

Some printmakers like it as a proofing sheet, others recognize the incredible beauty and ease of handling as an editioning sheet. Graphic H/W is about 1/3 the cost of some of the better known sheets, it's currently made in the United Kingdom exclusively for Graphic Chemical & Ink Company, it has 100% rag content and a neutral pH. Is it perfect? Not quite. It comes in only one color - Antique White, and it has no watermark or deckled edges, but other than that it's pretty close to perfect.

We're so sure that you'll love it, that we'll send you some sample sheets to try at no charge. You can use it for almost every printmaking process from intaglio to litho, relief and screen printing.

Full sized sheets come in 20 x 26", 22 x 30" and 26 x 40".

Saturday, August 04, 2007


One of the basic facts of life that we all face is that there aren't many new materials in printmaking.

Of course, if you've been paying attention, nothing is further from the truth. Almost all of the photo techniques used by many printmakers are relatively new to the process. And while Graphic Chemical has had a hand in some of these changes, there have been some that we weren't so actively involved with.

The same is true with tools. We've had some influence over what is available, and actually have designed a couple of tools to suit the needs of some of our customers. The latest of these is pictured on this page. We have, after several months of discussion with tool designers, introduced the Deluxe D/E Etching Needle, a double ended carbided tipped tool. This tool is black oxided with a knurled mid-section for easy gripping. It will draw through copper, zinc or steel like a hot knife through margarine (I'm on a diet so butter is out!)