Friday, October 25, 2013

#printoctober: monotypes, part 2

Earlier this month I shared a post about monotypes, which I was working on for #printoctober. That involved painting onto a (glass) plate with gouache or acrylic paint, and then printing the image onto a piece of printmaking paper. This is additive printing, because you are adding
material onto the plate.

monotype, printed with acrylic paint

You do not need to cover the entire plate. You can also just paint/ink sections of the plate and print that. This is watercolor pencil drawn onto the plate and then printed with damp paper. It didn't work as well as I'd hoped it would, on a prairie piece, but the text came out okay. It has a slightly ethereal quality about it.

watercolor pencil monotype

watercolor pencil prairie monotype

Monotypes only yield one print. There isn't a second print identical to the first, and there isn't an edition. It's a one of a kind print. Last week I printed a different kind of monotype. This involved inking a (glass) plate, covering it with paper, and then drawing on the paper.

Here's what you need:

a plate, I used a glass I pulled out of a picture frame
a brayer (aka a roller)
pen or pencil

Roll out your ink and cover your plate completely.

not exciting, but seemed important to show
Lay your paper over the plate, and draw on the paper. Try not to put any pressure on the paper, other than the tip of your pen. Rubbing will leave a mark. This is good for shading, but not good if you don't want it there, so be careful. 
don't forget it's got to be backwards!

When you are done drawing, lift off the paper. You really only get one shot at this, but it is not difficult to lift. But once it's up, you can't put it back down, so be sure you are finished.

bad print, on printmaking paper

Here are a few more I've done over the last week.

You can also do subtractive printing. This means you start with a full plate and remove bits of ink, and then print. 

what can I say, I love the blends
Remove ink. I used toothpicks and q-tips. I was also printing with water soluble ink, so I took a wet brush and painted into the ink and later wiped some with paper towels.  

initial removal of ink with toothpicks and q-tips
final print

Here's what I learned:

If you are drawing through the paper to transfer the image: thinner, smoother paper works better. The printmaking paper was too heavy to transfer cleanly. I tried the printmaking paper both dry and damp and saw no difference. I switched to a much lighter weight bristol, and that worked well.

Another artist recommended making a cardboard window that could go around the plate, to keep your hand from resting on the plate. This is a really good idea, but I haven't made one yet.

If you are using subtractive printing, clean off whatever you're using regularly. The toothpicks, etc, pick up small globs of ink.

None of the less than stellar pieces are being trashed. They will be used as a basis for something else down the road. I also printed a small amount of the red-yellow blend, as rolled, with no markings, to be able to print over later.

This could really be several posts but I'm running out of October for #printoctober, and I still want to get to collagraphs and multi-plate printing. Hoping to get that done and organized in the next couple of days. Otherwise #printoctober will be turning into #printnovember...

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