Cyanotype is a fun and easy method to acquaint oneself with alternative printing processes, but the blue color may not always be the most desired for a certain image. Fortunately, the print’s color can be changed by toners and hand coloring, or a cyanotype can be combined with a colored inkjet print.

In platinum printing it has been used a method by Ron Reeder and Dan Burkholder, among others, to add color by an inkjet printer. The same method can be used with cyanotype – the inkjet print can be the underlying layer on which the cyanotype will be printed, or it can be printed over the finished cyanotype.

Nowadays many inkjet printers use high quality and permanent pigment inks, so the final combination print should keep well. Also the inks are more or less waterproof – they will stand the wet processes necessary to clear cyanotypes.

There are two image samples below – the first one is the inkjet print for the background, and the second one is the final print, where cyanotype is printed over the inkjet. Maybe we could call prints like this “Pigmented Cyanotypes”.

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This is the inkjet print before cyano overprinting. I used some warm colors, hoping them to contrast with cyanotype’s blues and blend to form totally new hues. I was going to use a simple means of registration for the inkjet print and the negative, so I printed registration marks on the corners of the print and the negative. The image was blurred in Photoshop, so the registration doesn’t need to be extremely accurate.

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Jalo Porkkala: In Times Past, pigmented cyanotype.
The inkjet print was then washed in water (to remove all soluble inks), dried, and overprinted with cyanotype.

The inkjet was printed with an Epson R1800 (UltraChrome inks), and basically the inks seem to be insoluble in water, except for the black ink which bleeds a little – you can notice that from the registration marks which were printed with black ink only. The inkjet image itself, printed quite light and with no black, doesn’t seem to change in the water bath. So it may be unnecessary to wash after inkjet printing – practically you could coat the cyanotype right over the inkjet print, after some drying time.

Here’s another one – a reddish brown underprinting and a cyanotype on top:

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Jalo Porkkala: Psycho, pigmented cyanotype.