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

Monday, December 03, 2007


There is a certain fraternity between ink makers in this country, probably in part due to the fact that the number of U.S. owned ink companies is relatively low.

When it comes to printmaking inks, that number drops even lower - to almost scary proportions. One of the reasons that there are so few ink manufacturers for this important field is that the total volume of business is relatively small comparatively speaking. The commercial side of the business is a substantial market with billions of dollars per year in sales.

One of the things about printmaking inks that always seems to need explaining is what is meant by an "oil based ink". Apparently this congers up a mental image of an oil well pumping black gold from the ground. I'm not sure why that is, but inks used by printmakers use linseed oils not petroleum products as their base. During an OSHA inspection years ago, a misguided federal employee believed that she had stumbled on the mother-lode of safety violations when she saw some of the names of materials that we use. Of particular interest was the oil used in the inks - she had visions of citations running through her head. Needless to say she was disappointed to learn of the safety procedures that we go through to insure the safety of the products we sell. Many of the products she was preparing to cite turned out to be food-grade materials!

The point of all of this is that the materials that you purchase either from Graphic or from most other manufacturers specializing in printmaking materials are safe, and they generally carry the ACMI Seal to prove it. That seal insures that an independent toxicologist has reviewed the formulas of the inks, and certifies that they are safe to use and non-toxic. In the case of a handful of products (grounds, stop outs etc), the certification is that the product is labeled properly for the hazard involved.

Trust the ACMI label as your assurance that your materials have the highest level of quality and safety.


Blogger Linda said...

Well said. As an auditor and an employee at a major pharmaceutical company I appreciate those who adhere to safety standards and have the structure in place to ensure consumer safety. Bravo! As a printmaker I appreciate the American companies who persevere in this market. I don't wish to see the day when American printmakers need to seek inks elsewhere. Linda

4:14 AM  
Blogger Sharri said...

Thank you, Dean. Maybe this will clear up some misconceptions. The studio "bad things" from days of yore were the solvents & denatured alcohol used so freely. Now that most of us are using veggie oil and rubbing alcohol plus soap and water for clean up an oil base printmaking studio can be as non-toxic as water base.

9:30 AM  

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