Welcome to the site for Hacking the Digital Print, The Last Layer and Digital Alchemy, the groundbreaking works by Bonny Lhotka. These books are the result of more than two decades of experimental art, pushing the limits of technology and traditional media to create a new way of expressing your creative voice. The books are available from the publisher: PeachPit/New Riders Press, Amazon, iTunes, fine booksellers, and signed copies are available from DASS ART.
Enjoy your experiments!
About Hacking the Digital Print
Don’t bother reading this book unless you’re ready to get your hands dirty.
In Hacking the Digital Print, artist Bonny Lhotka redefines what it means to be a photographer. For one thing, you don’t always need Photoshop to alter the reality you capture through your lens. In this book, you’ll learn how to create unique images using tools you make and modify yourself. Lhotka shows you how to use analog distortion filters, custom textures, and lens modifiers to create images that look like you made them, not an app. You’ll also learn how to re-create classic printmaking techniques using non-toxic digital alternatives, including a water-based transfer solution that’s safe to use anywhere, whether it’s the studio, classroom, or kitchen counter.
Anyone can push a button and create a nice print–there is little challenge in getting a high-quality image out of a desktop printer these days. Lhotka shows you how to take your work to the next level by printing on materials such as wood, glass, plastics, and metal. For the truly adventurous, Lhotka shares her custom techniques for taking photographs and applying them to 3D-printed objects created with popular consumer 3D printers.
Part artist/part mad scientist, Lhotka has spent many hours experimenting, hacking, and tearing things apart to discover new ways to take, make, and print images. She encourages you to take the techniques you’ll learn in this book, hack them, and make them your own. With some techniques you will fail. It will be messy. You will try and have to try again. But in the process, you will make your own exciting discoveries, find solutions to your own problems, and create a body of work that is uniquely yours.
About The Last Layer
In The Last Layer–the follow-up to Digital Alchemy, her successful book on alternative printmaking techniques–Bonny Lhotka teaches how to make prints that take their inspiration from early printmaking processes. In this book, Lhotka shows readers step-by-step how to create modern-day versions of anthotypes, cyanotypes, tintypes, and daguerreotypes. She also reinvents the photogravure and Polaroid transfer processes and explores and explains groundbreaking techniques for combining digital images with traditional monotype, collograph, and etching press prints. By applying these classic techniques to modern images, readers will be able to recreate the look of historical printmaking techniques and explore the limits of their creative voice. Best of all, the only equipment required is a desktop inkjet printer that uses pigment inks, and a handful of readily available materials and supplies–not the toxic chemicals once required to perform these very same processes.
Leveraging her training as a traditional painter and printmaker, Bonny Lhotka brings new innovations and inventions that combine the best of centuries of printmaking technique with modern technology to create unique works of art and photography. After years of experimentation and development, these new processes allow alternative photographers, traditional printer makers, and 21st century digital artists to express their creative voice in ways never before possible.
About Digital Alchemy
In Digital Alchemy, acclaimed printmaker Bonny Pierce Lhotka shows how to turn your standard inkjet printer into a seemingly magical instrument capable of transforming your printed images into true works of art. Using plenty of visuals and straightforward terms, Lhotka walks you step-by-step through over a dozen projects. Forget printing on boring old paper, in Digital Alchemy, you’ll learn how to transfer and print images to a variety of surfaces including metal, wood, fabric, stone, and plastic using the techniques Lhotka’s spent years developing.
If you’re a photographer looking for new ways to personalize your work or a digital artist who’s ready to take your work to the next level, you’ll find all of the tools, techniques, and inspiration you need in this book. Lhotka’s enthusiasm for experimenting with unusual printing materials and processes has led her to create new and amazing transfer techniques, including one that resembles a Polaroid™ transfer on steroids. She also shows you how to make prints using unexpected, everyday materials such as hand sanitizer and gelatin. You’ll even learn direct printing, the technique for sending your custom substrate through your printer almost as if it were paper.
In Digital Alchemy, you’ll learn how to:
- Transfer images to metal, wood, plastic, and other materials that will not feed through an inkjet printer
- Print directly on metal for a fraction of the cost of using a print service
- Simulate a print from an expensive UV flatbed printer using an inexpensive desktop printer
- Use carrier sheets and paintable precoats to print on almost any surface
- Achieve near-lithographic quality digital prints with transfer processes to uncoated fine art paper