Recently I’ve been taken by the idea of printing, and most specifically ‘Monotype’ printing, where every print made is unique.
It’s a very spontaneous technique, and the method imparts a deliciously unpredictable but fascinating quality to the prints. As with most of these methods, sometimes it works better than others, and the trick is to get to know what will push the hand of fate in your favour. That’s the journey I’m embarking on.
There are two ways of monotype printing: one where you paint your image directly on glass and print from it; and the one I used here, where the method is to ink up a glass plate (the smooth reverse of a glass chopping board) with printing ink and a roller. Water-based ink is very convenient as it takes hardly any cleaning up afterwards. However, in the longer term I expect I’ll need to explore other options, especially if I want to add other media onto the base prints. But I digress.
Once the plate has been inked, carefully lay a sheet of plain paper (copier paper seems to work pretty well) over the inked area. Don’t press down anywhere! Next, draw an image on that paper with a pencil or ballpoint pen, making sure that your hand doesn’t ever touch the paper. Unless you’ve a super-steady hand, this will almost certainly give you some unusual lines, and maybe a bit of wonkiness, but that’s all part of the fun and the uniqueness of this method. You can’t rub out once you’ve made a mark, so either take it very carefully, or throw caution to the winds – your choice! If you want to shade areas, your finger will do a great job, just press on the paper in the darker areas, or shade with the pencil – both will give a different effect. A rather simple drawing with a minimum of shading tends to work very well, I’ve found.
When you think you’ve finished your image, it’s time for the big reveal. Peel off the paper, and TA-DA! Your monotype print in all its gritty, grainy glory.
You can see that in the second image, I had too much ink on the glass, but I think I got it just about right with the first girl. Also, my roller is a bit eccentric, so the ink wasn’t as evenly rolled as I’d hoped, but I honestly think it all adds to the charm.
I finished off the session with a snoozing cat, because I like cats.
I’m addicted now.