Sunday, January 25, 2009
Monotype Printmaking at home
Several of you have asked about a step by step description of my process creating monotypes at home, using my rolling pin. So today, while I printed new monotypes, I tried to remember to take some photos of the process. Hopefully, this will clarify a few things for you. It's really not that hard, and I am sure anyone could do this at home, after a little bit of experimentation.
The first step is to paint your plate. I use plexiglass plates, that I got from Dick Blick. The one in this demo measures 8 x 10 inches. I use Charbonnel etching inks, which are oil based, and really gorgeous. I actually apply the ink with a brayer, mostly, except I forgot to take a photo of that part. I spend quite a bit of time, mixing colors and preparing my plate. I experiment a LOT! You can also apply ink to the whole plate and then use a cloth (or Q-tip or whatever) to remove ink. Once you get the plate looking the way you want it to look, you are ready to try printing it!
I have been printing in the kitchen, where there is more room. I use my cutting mat to print on, so I can make use of the grid. That way I can be sure the paper is centered over the plate. First, I wipe the edges of the plate clean (carefully). Then, I set the plate on my cutting mat. I use printmaking paper (BFK rives). I dampen the paper using a spray bottle filled with water. This is something I do over the sink, but I didn't take a photo of that. I squirt both sides pretty well, and then blot the excess water off using paper towels. Once I have dampened the paper, I carefully lay it over the inked plate. Then, I use my hands to press the paper down onto the plate, rubbing along the edges of the plate. I do this to prevent the paper from sliding when I apply pressure. I first use the baren and rub back and forth first horizontally and then vertically. While I rub with the baren, I hold onto the paper to keep it from sliding. I have found that if I put a piece of tissue paper over the top of my paper, it keeps the paper from being rubbed off, and also keeps the back of the print clean.
Next, I take the rolling pin. I place the rolling pin in the center of the paper and roll out. I roll the pin in the same way, horizontally and vertically. I am trying to get as much pressure as I can, and also trying for even pressure. I go over the paper with both the baren and the rolling pin several times. Once my arms get tired, I am ready to lift the paper and see the results! This is the fun part. What I have discovered is that the monotypes I pull by hand, using the above method, are much "grainier" than the ones I pull using a printing press. You can see for yourselves. As Robyn discovered, the jackrabbit I did two posts ago was printed using a press. The lizard from Friday was printed using the wooden spoon and pvc pipe.
So there you have it!!! That is how I have been creating monotypes at home without a press. I hope this gave you a clearer idea of my process now. There are many different kinds of printmaking, but what I like about monotypes is that each one is unique, an original one-of-a-kind. Most other types of printmaking will give you several prints of the same image. So far, monotypes are the only kind of printmaking I have done. I am hoping to try some of the other kinds. For now, I am loving these monotypes!