Takach Press Logo
Takach Press

Charbonnel Traditional Intaglio Etching Inks

charbonnel Etching InksCharbonnel Etching Ink 60ml tubeThe pigments are chosen for their excellent lightfastness and low acidity. They are blended with top quality oils and finely milled to ensure trouble free printing and lasting works of art. the detail and subtleties of an artist's work come to life with Charbonnel inks.

Ink Composition


Each pigment has specific characteristics which determine the final appearance of the color. The pigments come from various sources: mineral or organic, natural or synthetic. All the pigments are currently of synthetic origin (95%).

Yellows and Oranges

All the yellows of the Charbonnel range are composed of azo pigments. These are organic pigments, with the oldest ones dating back to the beginning of the century. These pigments have medium coloring power and are well colored. They are reasonably transparent and chemically stable.
The drying time for Charbonnel yellows is 10 - 15 days.


The reds are composed of azo and quinacridone pigments. The azo pigments are described above (see yellows). The quinacridones are very powerful and deep and have an excellent light fast quality. They are very transparent.
The drying time for Charbonnel reds is 15 - 20 days.


These pigments are composed of dioxazine and have the same characteristics as the 'quinacridones: they are very powerful and deep and have an excellent light fast quality.
The drying time for Charbonnel violets is 15 - 20 days.


Most blues are phthalocyanine pigments except for ultramarine (combination of aluminum and silicate) and Prussian blue (ferrous complex). The last two colors have a weak covering and coloring power. However, they have a very good light fastness and are compatible with all the pigments. Phthalocyanine pigments are transparent, highly colored and very stable.
The drying time for Charbonnel blues is 10 days (except for Orient Blue and Concentrated Blue : 20 days).


These pigments also have a phthalocyanine base and are transparent with a good coloring power and excellent stability.
The average drying time for Charbonnel greens is approximately 10 days.

Earth Pigments

These pigments have a synthetic or natural oxide or iron base. The natural oxides are natural earth pigments, washed and decanted. These are dull earth pigments, in contrast with the azo pigments. They allow darker mixes and a good range of browns and grays. They are semi-opaque pigments. Their drying times are quite short and have an improved grain size. In the Charbonnel color range, only Raw Sepia has a natural iron oxide base. The synthetic oxides possess the characteristics of the natural oxides without their defects. They are more lively, less grainy and dry more rapidly. They are also semi-opaque.
The average drying time for Charbonnel earth tones is approximately 5 days.

Metallic Colors

Gold has a natural bronze base pigment and silver an aluminum base pigment. The pigment particle size of the shades is larger and the paste thicker than the others because they cannot be ground. Grinding would actually crush the pigment, which would lose all its metallic characteristics.


Charbonnel Black Etching InkThese are composed of ivory black and carbon black. Ivory black has a bluish tint, a rather long drying time and is opaque. Il est opaque. Carbon black is more powerful with a shorter drying time than ivory black. The ratio of the two types of black varies depending on the type of black concerned (see classification table for the blacks). The blacks differ not only in shade but also in viscosity. They contain 200 poise linseed oil (very high viscosity), 30 poise linseed oil (medium viscosity) and colorless linseed oil (low viscosity). The proportion of the three oils gives a particular viscosity to each black (see classification table for the blacks). The proportion between pigment content and oil also plays an important role in the viscosity and depth of the black.

 Black 55985

Composition of Ivory Black, Carbon Black, Prussian Blue

Highly viscous, difficult to wipe.

Very deep slightly blue black.

Used to strengthen the other blacks.

 Black 71303 discontinued

Composition of Ivory Black, Carbon Black, Prussian Blue

Viscous, wiping takes time

A thick ink.

 Black Luxe C

Composition of Ivory Black, Carbon Black, Prussian Blue

Low viscosity

Supple and gentle black. Slightly blue.

 Black F66

Composition of Ivory Black, Carbon Black

Low viscosity, easy to wipe.

Medium intensity.

 Black RSR

Composition of Carbon Black


Powerful, supple black.

 Black 55981

Composition of Ivory Black, Carbon Black

Very viscous. Easier to wipe than 55985

Universal supple black.

 "Doux" Soft Black

Composition of Ivory Black

Low viscosity easy to wipe.

Very supple and relatively opaque.
Can be used for lowering the tones of a plate which is too heavily etched.

 Carbon Black

Composition of Carbon Black

Low viscosity easy to wipe.

Can be used in particular for test print runs.


These are composed of zinc white and titanium white. Titanium white is very powerful with a high covering power. Zinc white is less covering, a little less powerful and tends to slightly change on steel covered plates. The whites have the same viscosity as the Charbonnel colors.

 Snow White TI

Titanium White

The Highest covering and coloring power.

 Snow White RS

Zinc White

Less covering power and more transparent than Snow white TI.
To be avoided on steel covered plates.

 Covering White RS

Zinc white Barite Sulfate

Intermediate results between Snow White TI and Covering White RS


Transparent Base

Charbonnel White Transparent LakeWhite Transparent Lake

Mix with all Charbonnel Oil based inks to extend ink volume, add transparency and lighten color.

Etching Oil

Charbonnel Light Etching OilLight Etching Oil

Mix with inks to reduce viscosity and improve printing when inks are too thick.



The binder used for Charbonnel colors is stand oil. This is polymerized linseed oil, i.e. oil which has been heated so as to be thicker. This linseed oil yellows only very slightly with age and is archival. The more the oil is cooked, the more viscous it will be. This viscosity is measured in poises. A high poise number indicates a high viscosity.
Charbonnel colors all contain a 30 poise stand oil (medium viscosity).
Some blacks also contain 200 poise stand oil. These varied viscosities allow different techniques and results: black 55985, for example, will be difficult to wipe due to its high viscosity but will enhance the bards of the dry points. It is ideal for dry point and aquatint. Charbonnel intaglio inks contain no additives (siccatives or wax). This gives them optimal intensity and qualities. Artists can add a siccative if desired for example. It is always easier to add a product than to remove one.



The pigment content is remarkably high in the Charbonnel colors in order to provide good coloring power, even after dilution in the Charbonnel white transparent base.


Charbonnel inks are more or less easy to wipe depending on their viscosity and the pigment used.
Some blacks are difficult to wipe due to their high poise rate. All the colors contain a 30 poise stand oil. Some shades such as Prussian blue are difficult to wipe because of their pigment.
The wiping can be improved by adding a little linseed oil to the shade before applying it to and heating the plate (mainly in winter).


The consistency of Charbonnel colors is identical; from the new 60ml tube to the 200ml pot. The consistency of a Charbonnel intaglio ink co lour is measured by its viscosity which will vary slightly depending on the pigment used and for the blacks according to the viscosity.
The adhesion and thickness of an ink can be reduced by adding linseed oil which will make wiping easier. The thickness of the ink can also be reduced with 30 or 60 stand oil. In this case the ink will remain thick (useful if the ink is wiped too easily). If the ink is thought to be too fluid, the user may add a white transparent base.

Siccative Properties "Drying"

The intaglio colors are like oil colors, they dry by oxidation. However, because the thickness of an ink in an engraving is generally less than for an oil painting, it will take less time to dry. In addition, paper absorbs more paint than a canvas. You should allow about two weeks for the paint to dry thoroughly.


The opacity or transparency of a Charbonnel ink will vary depending on the pigment used. This characteristic is very important for the creation of work with several plates. An opaque color applied on a transparent color will not have at all the same effect as, for example, two transparent colors applied on each other.


Charbonnel inks can be kept for years in their boxes or tubes. If the greaseproof paper which is placed on the ink in the boxes is damaged, it should be replaced by another to prevent the upper layer of the paint drying.

Charbonnel Color Inks Legend

★★★ Completely light fast colors, even when lightened

★★ Very light fast colors

★ Light fast colors used in a pure state

□ Transparent colors

◪ Transparent / Opaque colors

■ Opaque colors

Tpc Home | Etching Press | Litho Press | Studio Accessories | Information | Sale/Used| Gallery | About Us | Contact| Online Store ©1996-2013 Takach Press