Friday, April 30, 2010

How I Create Monotypes (usually)

 "Nowhere to Hide"
 Plate size: 10" x 8"
 Monotype on Rives BFK

Amie Roman let me know about great idea by Carol Nunan over at Horsley Printmakers. Carol has a post on her blog, Carol's Original Prints, asking printmakers to post their techniques for creating monotypes and monoprints. Amie has a great post about how she creates monoprints, please go check it out. Also, you should take a look at the work of Bruce Waldman who creates monotypes by drawing with the edge of his brayer (among other techniques). Bruce is an incredible artist and was the first one who taught me how to do monotypes. Amie had a great post about Bruce where he describes his way of working which you can see here.

So, in the spirit of sharing, here's my humble contribution:

I create monotypes using oil-based litho and/or etching inks. Oil-based inks give me alot of "open" time (several hours) in which to work into the ink before it dries. Using a brayer, I completely cover a plexiglass plate with ink until I achieve the density of color that I am looking for. I can moderate how opaque or transparent this ink layer is at this stage by controlling how much ink I apply to the plate. It helps to hold the plate up to the light to see how much ink coverage I have before I start creating my image. This is one of the advantages to using plexiglass for your monotype plate rather than metal or other opaque material.

Next, I use any number of tools to remove the ink from the plate. This process is referred to as the "reductive" method of creating a monotype. My tools include paper towels (made of recycled paper), cotton swabs, fabrics of different textures, brushes and anything else that I can find that will leave an interesting impression in the ink. But I'd say the tool I use most is a paper towel piece wrapped around the tip of my finger.

After I finish creating the image, I hold the plate up to the light since the plate is transparent and the light that comes through gives me a more accurate "read" on how the plate will ultimately print onto the paper. I see a big difference between the way the plate looks on the glass table I work on and when I hold it up to the light.

The final step is to create my print by running it through my etching press. I use pressure that is light enough to transfer the ink to the paper without mushing and spreading the ink and heavy enough to emboss the paper with the edge of the plate as with an etching.

As I've mentioned in previous posts here and here, I find this method of working addictive. I encourage anyone with an interest to get started as soon as possible. I predict you'll never want to stop.

Happy creating!


Amie Roman said...

This is a great print, and a great post, Elana. Thanks for adding your
"how to" to the project. Excellent explanation.

Lisa Viger said...

wonderful blog ...

Renard said...

WoW I feel like I have just learnt a lot about monotype! I have tried once, I felt so frustrated with the technique yet I love how the prints look.

Awesome print by the way!