Of the two brands, I am more interested in the Gamblin, at least initially, because the oil-based inks are closer to what I know, and according to the company's website, they can be used together with Gamblin oil paints. Still, I don't really understand why I should use ink. Always helpful, the folks at Gamblin provide a nice introduction to Monotype: the painterly print on their website, in which they recommend the use of their "relief inks" and "burnt plate oil" for monotypes rather than oil paints and linseed oil. But Gamblin also makes "etching inks" and I am not sure what the difference is. Also, the relief inks arrived in cans, but are shown in jars on the website; there, etching inks are shown in cans.
I was confused enough that I wrote to Gamblin asking about all this, and received a lovely reply from Joy Mallari, Gamblin's Printmaking Product Manager. In addition to reassuring me that the relief inks had only recently been changed from jars to cans, she explained,
For monotypes ink works better than oil paint because of the physical properties in the different oils used to make ink and paint. Paint is made from linseed oil. Ink is made from burnt plate oil, basically cooked linseed oil. During this “cooking process” fatty acids are eliminated from the oil vehicle. These acids which are still present in oil paint eat through paper and turn it yellow within a year.A second inquiry of mine about the viability of paints (did I need to throw out those prints I had made?) brought the following:
I would definitely suggest not throwing those out, as the acidity content can be taken down with the addition of burnt plate oil #000. Unfortunately, there will still be some acidic properties that will yellow the paper over time. However the benefit is that you can still work with some of the vibrant oil colors offered in our oil paint line that aren’t available as inks. Sacrifice vs compromise, for sure.So I am feeling reassured and a bit more knowledgeable, and willing to dip into the relief inks to see what happens.