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

My Photo
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 14, 2010


To all who have commented on my border crossing episode....I was aiming at one person who was unpleasant. In writing the blog, Susan and I had commented that normally we have a much harder time crossing back into the U.S.!

This time, the U.S. return crossing was lengthy, due to traffic, but the actual contact was almost non-existent. I don't believe that anyone was offended by my comments (except for Officer 13089 possibly), but if anyone was put off - I love Canada and Canadians. I even know all the words to Oh Canada (I'm a hockey fan after all) and have been in Canada several times for Canada Day on July 1. We were just put off by the incredible rudeness from one person, encountered so unexpectedly. After the fact, we both recalled a conversation with an Irish cab driver. When I commented that Ireland and the Irish were incredibly friendly, he responded, "It doesn't cost you anything to be friendly." Of course, he wasn't with the Immigration office either.

We had a great time at Japanese Paper Place, which is, by the way, a truly special place. We are indebted to Nancy, Peter and their wonderful staff for a great workshop and much, much more.

Friday, August 13, 2010


The title might just say it all. I preface my remarks by saying I bear no ill will to any country mentioned in the following paragraphs, or to the people of said country.

My sad tale begins last Sunday morning, when I agreed to travel with my wife to a collage workshop in the Chicago suburbs. She had a two hour dog and pony show from 10:00am-12:00pm. There were about 20 people in attendance and they had some great questions about printmaking in general and paper specifically. It was the highlight of the day. Of course, if you read further you'll probably see that a root canal could have been the highlight of that particular day, had it not been for such a great event. Susan and Pete did a great job presenting on the papers we brought with us.

Canadian Flag

Fast forward to 10:30 pm after a long drive from Chicago to the threshold of Canada - Windsor, Ontario and the world famous Ambassador Bridge. We approached the bridge assuming that at that hour the crossing would be uneventful - well, not so much as it turns out. There were hundreds of cars, but we seemingly chose the right lane and in just a few minutes (well, maybe 20 minutes) we were at the check point. A few routine questions followed - what was the purpose of our visit? How long would we stay? D
id we have any goods for sale? etc. We were, in fact, on our way to a workshop put on by the Japanese Paper Place in Toronto. We were staying for two days, and we had nothing that we would be selling. Seems pretty straight forward to me.

We were selected for a "random" inspection at the check point, which caused us to be separated from the herd and sent inside to Canadian Immigration where our car was inspected by a nice young man. After an uneventful inspection, we were given a yellow sheet of paper and instructed to go inside and have it stamped.

Up to this point, a grand total of about 15 minutes had elapsed from the check point to the completion of the inspection. We foolishly believed that we'd be on our way to Toronto in just a few minutes. Oh to be that naive again!

We were greeted eventually by 13089 (that's not her real number, we've changed it to protect the - I was going to say innocent but instead I'll go with grumpy). She started out mad before we could even say hello, and it got a lot worse. 13089 wanted to see our invitation to Canada! Surprisingly, we did not have one, thinking that a trip to visit an art workshop and visit with friends would be a fairly simple thing.

Here, however, is the cautionary part of our tale. Several days after the fact we researched Canadian Immigration standards, and in fact, an invitation can be required and 24 hour contact information for the host can be required! Don't venture across that border without documenting the daylights out of why you are going.

Two hours later, without exaggeration, we were able to find someone who could fax a printout from a web page about the workshop. Our stalwart Immigration Officer was apparently done tormenting us, and allowed that we should have told her that at the beginning...which of course we had tried to, but she didn't want to listen, she wanted to talk.

All in all, it was a particularly unpleasant first impression of Canada. We've been to Canada fairly frequently over the years - usually for some semblance of business (trade shows, workshops and sales calls) and never had even a slight problem in this regard. Could it be a backlash at the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup? Whatever it was I will from this day forward, only visit our neighbors to the North for pleasure.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Q: What's new, Moss Green and 123 pages long?
A: Graphic Chemical & Ink Compan
y's 2010 90th Anniversary Printmakers Materials Catalog.

It's been a long time coming, but we are pleased that the catalogs are finally available. This year's edition is a switch from past catalogs in a number
of ways.

There is a lot more color throughout the book. In addition to color charts for most of the inks that we carry, there are color photos of products, and our favorite part - great artwork from some of our favorite artists. All artwork was used with permission of the artists.

Another change - one which will save you money in the long run - is that there are no prices in the catalog. I know that's counter-intuitive, but we save money by not having to reprint every time there was a price change. Prices are available onli
ne at and will be supplemented by a printed price list in the near future.

The paper section has been vastly expanded to 21 pages of papers from mills around the world. Our tools selection probably has more variety of tools than is available anywhere, and no one offers more in the way of inks than you'll find in this catalog. Every ink that we manufacture is matched by an ink from another manufacturer. I don't want to name drop (of course, I do!) but in add
ition to inks manufactured in our plant here in Villa Park, we carry inks from Charbonnel, Akua, Caligo, Gamblin, Hanco, Speedball, Lascaux, Createx, Faust, Pro-Line and a few others.

We have listed in the catalog, inks from Sun Chemical, which is the successor to Handschy. They purchased the line from Handschy Industries a little over a year ago. This line has gone through more twists and turns than you can believe. Just recently we were approached by a group of former Handschy employees that were offering the same product that we were all used to, made on the same equipment , at reasonable prices. It was a hard offer to pass up, so we jumped on it.

The new Hanco products are not shown in the catalog - yet, but they are listed online. Instead of a number like CS100, it will be listed as HI-100. Just to further confuse the issue, Graphic has a line available of Process colors to match the old Hanco inks too. Hey, we didn't know if the big boys were going to be able to sort it out before the back-to-school rush, so we came up with Process Yellow, Process Magenta, Process Blue, Process Black, and the big hit of the summer, our new LFP Mag Tint Base. This is an effort to get back to the older, better version of the W-1075 before formulations were changed. The LFP is an homage to our co-collaborator on the project - Landfall Press in Santa Fe, NM.

There's lots more new and improved in the catalog, but you'll have to read it to decide what's new.

The downside? It's pretty minor, but the cost for the catalog is $5. The good news is that the $5 is refunded on your first order of $50 or more.