Print 1. Project 1: First monoprints

Experiments in mark making and painted plates.

This section requires experimentation using various brush marks on the printing plate.

I am working using a non-slip woven base on my work top.  The paper registration template sits on top of this with my glass printing plate covering the lot.  This system enables me to see the template clearly without the risk of ink getting on it.  I have cut a thick piece of plastic to the print area size as per my template.  I apply the ink to this in my inking area and then, after cleaning the edges, I place it carefully on top of the glass covered template lining up the edges.  The print paper is then laid over this, again lining up the marks, and the image is transferred as instructed in the manual.

Print1-P1aLeft – inked print plate (this will be shown in most photos).  Right – first print.  Cartridge paper 110gsm. Not having used these oil based inks before I tried them ‘neat’ with no added extender.  They were extremely sticky and I was unable to spread them.  I used various brushes, some line work, stippling and scribbling back into the ink with the end of a brush.

Print1-P1bMiddle – Cartridge 110gsm. Ink mixed with extender. A roller was used to create the deep black area and then drawn into with a narrow brush end, this barely shows. Other techniques include dabbing paint on and using a swirling motion on top, the edge of a credit card moved left to right (green), a  scalloping movement with a thickly laden brush (yellow), stippling with a tiny brush (black), pulling a thick ended brush through black ink.  Right – Photocopy paper, ghost print.

Print1-P1cMiddle – Canson Drawing 220gsm.  Using the ink from the previous sample I used a roller to try some colour mixing.  This was then drawn into using a thick end of one of the brushes.  The ink was still too thick and sticky and the print is very dense – two days on and it still isn’t dry.  Right – Pastel 100gsm.  I added more line work to the original plate without adding more ink and then took a ghost print.

Note: Extremely peeved that my plastic print plate is warped as can clearly be seen in the photo.  This will create serious registration problems if I use this method later in the course.  I have better, flatter, plastic but so far I have been unable to cut it to size.  It’s too hard to get through and where I have tried it has just mangled.

Print1-P1dHere I experimented by drawing directly on to the glass, as much as possible within the print area of my template below.  I then used a paper resist to mask the ragged edges before printing.

Print1-P1eMiddle – Cartridge 110gsm. Using different brushes to stipple, draw lines, twist the bristles to create circles, flick, dab, fill in fully, dot, and remove lines with the other end of the brush.  Right – Cartridge 110gsm, ghost print.

I still think I have the ink too thick and not enough extender.  It’s incredibly hard to use it with a brush and I really can’t spread it well yet.

Print1-P1fPrint1-P1gMiddle – Canson Drawing 220gsm.  Right – Photocopy paper, ghost print.

Colour mixing with a roller and using up the inks from above.  The drawn lines still aren’t as prominent as I had hoped.  The circles are extremely interesting.  I took a fairly large stencil brush, placed it on the ink and twisted it.

The fascinating thing was that the ink seemed like it had a skin on it, almost like jellied plastic.  Quite odd.  I wonder whether I’ve now put too much medium in the ink and I’m getting some kind of reaction, but it still hasn’t fully covered the paper as can be seen on the left.  I really have no idea.  I just have to keep going and I’m sure I’ll get the hang of the quantities.

Again, here I used my glass base as the printing plate.  I laid out newspaper strips as the resist to create the edging.  This method works well BUT never use newspaper.  The print has come off on my paper surround.

Having read quite a bit on monoprinting over the last few days I understand that I’m pushing my luck trying to print on fairly thick paper, 220gsm, without a press.  Hand burnishing just doesn’t have either the pressure or the consistency over the whole print area.



About Claire B

I am a passionate printmaker, paper maker and book artist. I'm a 'forever' student and frequently attend courses and workshops to extend and improve my creative skills.
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2 Responses to Print 1. Project 1: First monoprints

  1. Gail Sadleir says:

    Claire, I was so looking forward to this journey but now i think it is going to be a rough road. I know you will overcome the problems so i do sympathize with you but will still be on the journey with you.

    • Claire B says:

      Thanks Gail. Once I’m familiar with the oil based inks things should get a bit easier. I’ve already picked up some tips on a better and quicker clean-up method. Now I’ve just got to get the printed image under control!!

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