Chlorophyll Printing with Handlettering: an alternative photography mashup

I’m all about getting people easy access to photography and getting them quick wins in terms of making simple projects that look great. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then you’re in the right place. The Chlorophyll Process in alternative photography is accessible to anyone that can get their hands on some greenery, and simple enough to understand, that even children can participate. I’ve also decided to pair it with a text-based project in the form of hand lettering, which might help to remove any intimidation from traditional photography rules.

A quick rundown

In it’s simplest form, the chlorophyll process is a bleaching process. A leaf is placed outside in the sun and an object (in our case, a printed word on a transparency) is placed on top. Anywhere that is exposed to the sun is bleached over time, while anywhere that was covered is not affected. The one caveat is that it does take time: at least several hours to potentially several days, depending on your geographic location and the time of year.

I’ve been wanting to try this process for a while, and I’m happy that I finally got around to it. It’s still very much an experimental process for me, and I’d probably need to make about 100 more prints before I feel completely comfortable. Still, I thought what I learned in the process could be helpful to you as your starting.

And now, the video

If you’d like to get the rest of the videos in this course, head over to my Skillshare page. Skillshare is an awesome platform that I personally have used to learn all sorts of things. They run great deals for your first 3 months of membership, during which you have access to thousands of great videos on a wide range of creative topics, including mine. If you’re at all interested in continuing to learn and grow as a creative, this platform is well worth being a part of. And who knows, maybe you’ll get inspired to teach your own class someday.
So, head over to the rest of the course, and make something awesome!


Cyanotype 102: Mixing Your Own Chemicals

Hello there, you’re probably here because you want to learn more about alternative photography and specifically cyanotype. There is a ton of great free information out there on photographic alt processes, but often it is so much it can feel overwhelming. That’s why I’ve created a series of classes aimed at getting a beginner up and running in the cyanotype medium.

As you can see, this is cyanotype 102. If you want the absolute basics, I’d recommend going to my post, Cyanotype 101. There you’ll learn the foundations of cyanotype as well as how to use pre-coated cyanotype papers to make your first cyanotypes. In this class, we’ll take things to the next level and learn how to actually mix your own paper and hand coat your own papers.

And why would you want to do that?

Well, to a certain degree it is personal preference, but many people would also say it opens up possibilities artistically. Ultimately, mixing your own chemistry and providing your own paper gives you more control over the final aesthetic, and ultimately, control is what allows you to execute your artistic vision. So if you’re interested in alternative processes at all, I’d recommend mixing your own to get the full effect of the medium.

On to the video!


If you want to continue this course, the rest of the videos are available through Skillshare. If you’ve never heard of it, Skillshare is a video course platform aimed especially at creative projects. I now have several courses available and plan to continue adding more. With every class, I offer you can post the project you were able to make as a result. I’d love to see your cyanotype work and help you improve your skills as an alternative photographer.

To continue on to the rest of the class, click here.

Advanced Cyanotype Class

I’ve just completed another Skillshare class. Cyanotype 103: printing from a digital negative is the last class in my cyanotype foundations series. Together they lay the groundwork for someone to understand how the process works and make their own prints using either pre-coated paper or mixing and coating their own chemicals. With the addition of this most recent class, they are now also prepared for either photogram style prints or actual photographic prints from printed digital negatives.

A cyanotype print from an image I took during my Catoctin residency.

One of the other other important skills introduced in this class is how to make a test print. Understanding how test prints work allow you to really refine your exposures and make it possible to have very consistent results.

Test Print at 1 minute intervals

Next on my list of classes is how to make and use paper negatives with cyanotype and also a little bit of a deeper dive into how to really perfect your digital negative so that your final print is as good as it can be.

So, if you haven’t checked out my classes yet, now is a great time. If you sign up through one of my links you get 2 months access to the entire library of classes for FREE! Go learn a new skill.

Check it out

Back at the Helm

Well, I’m waist deep in teaching once again. This semester I’m only teaching 3 courses (the last few I’ve had 5 or 6) so I’m really hoping to spend some time on some other projects. But all in all, it’s good to be back in the classroom, both physical and digital. I’ve also just completed transitioning a physical course over to an online platform. The class is History of Photography, which I’ve taught in person before, but this process of converting it to purely digital gave me the chance to re-evaluate all the content and exercises. I’m especially happy that through reworking it, I’ve been able to add a little bit of actual photography in. It would seem a little sad to spend a whole semester talking about photography without any of them actually snapping a shutter. Since a large portion of the class is spent in the early history, I’m focusing on very early processes of Anthotype, Chlorophyll Prints, and Cyanotype. Those three process are perfect introductions to the principles of light sensitive photography, which most of my students have never experienced (should I feel old?).

I do plan on investing a little more time in teaching my Skillshare classes this semester. They’ve gotten off to a slow, but steady pace, and I’m encourage enough to add to my selection of classes. Right now I’m planning my next 4 classes which will be on cyanotype and anthotype.

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And last, a side project which you may not be aware of. For the past many years I’ve dabbled in board game design. I’ve prototyped a few of my designs and played them with family, but I’ve never put in the required time to finish them off. You may remember that  a couple years ago I made a card game called Park Trails. Anyway, over the past few years I’ve continued to dabble and even fill a notebook with ideas and designs, but now I’m starting to take next steps: prototyping, play testing, designing and printing. I’m not sure exactly where this will lead, but I love the process and I’m looking forward to the journey. If you want to follow along, you can find me on Instagram @circlecanoe

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I can teach you how to do Cyanotype in my Skillshare class!

I’ve recently begun teaching classes through If you’ve never heard of it, Skillshare is a video course platform aimed especially at creative projects. I’ve got several different series of classes planned, but the first I plan to develop fully is all about Cyanotype. In the series I’ll take someone from being an absolute beginner using pre-coated sun printing paper up through advanced techniques of large scale prints, creating digital negatives, toning finished prints, printing on multiple materials and mixing your own chemicals.

Cyanotype is my favorite alternative process because it has a very low bar of entry in terms of required materials (you expose it in the sun and develop it in regular tap water), it is very forgiving, and it can be used to create a very wide range of looks.

Skillshare does require a membership, but if you click on my referral link, you get 2 months for free. That means you can watch every class I’ve uploaded (2 right now and more soon to come) as well as over 10,000 other skillshare videos for free for the first 2 months. There are a huge range of topics, including art, design, craft, photography and beyond, for all skill levels.

One cool feature on every Skillshare class is that you are encouraged to upload your finished results for each project. So for my class, you can upload your finished cyanotype prints so I and the rest of my students can see your work and comment, give feedback and answer any questions you have. I’m really looking forward to what you make!