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

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


I really hate missing a month for blog postings, but I missed the month of May. There were a lot of reasons, but few, if any, of them were good reasons. There's been a little bit of travel, but that's not it. A few health problems, but that's not it either. We've been busy redeveloping the Water Soluble line of Relief inks, but that's not it either. No, it's just a hot muggy time of year, and I didn't feel like it.

The redevelopment thing, however, has been on the front burner for quite a long time. In all of the years that I've been at Graphic I've never had an issue that was so universally concerning to our customers. We've been very proud of the Water Soluble Relief Inks. We believe that they are the best on the market, but it doesn't matter what we think, it's what you think that matters. A number of years ago, there was a bulletin board post from someone who mentioned another manufacturer had come out with the first professional quality water soluble relief ink. It implied that ours, not mentioned by name were less than professional in quality. We were concerned that people would believe that claim, so we offered members of the bbs a free sample of our ink to try. No strings attached....and we crossed our fingers that those who sampled ours would have a positive comment or two for the board.

Almost every artist that received a sample wrote in to say it was the best that they'd ever tried. O.K. I'm editorializing a little bit, but the comments were very positive. You can imagine how upset we were (not to mention how upset many of you were) when without notice, the specialized vehicle that we used just disappeared! We'd even been buying 20 drums of the old vehicle at a time to insure that they'd make it for us, but with the economy the way it was, the manufacturer chose to discontinue the product. (20 drums, by the way, is one heck of a lot of water soluble vehicle - about 1100 gallons worth!)

The process that led to our new product was long, convoluted and arduous. We began by begging for one more kettle of the vehicle, and were told no - we could use their new product instead. If you'd seen the MSDS you'd understand why we couldn't do that. Next, we tracked down former employees of the vendor. Several of them had left to start their own businesses or to work elsewhere. That didn't pan out the way we'd hoped. We even went to a distributor that I swore I'd never do business with again. Ironically, our last effort that resulted in the new vehicle actually turned out to have a connection to a former employee of the old supplier, but we didn't know about it until we'd found the new product and learned that the salesperson that we'd would work with was our former salesperson with the old company.

The ink field is very much like printmaking in some ways. Everybody knows everybody else, within reason. The people are very close and generally are happy to help. And sometimes you just get lucky. I'll always take lucky over good...always!

What's next? Look for new colors...some Earth colors, a few bolder colors, and perhaps a couple of new modifiers. Keep looking here, we'll try to make it interesting.


Anonymous Lori Biwer-Stewart said...

Hi Dean,
I current order oil-based inks from Graphic for my relief print. Are you still giving away free samples of your water-based inks? I'd really like to try them.

8:54 AM  
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3:52 PM  

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