How to make a monoprint
Because monotype printing allows considerable freedom in the approach to imagery, this is considered to be a very versatile method. The artist can decide to work positively or negatively, to use water based or oil based inks, to incorporate other materials or not.
Working positively means that the artist will put down imagery with brushes or rollers. Working negatively means that ink is removed with hands, rags, cotton swabs or anything pointed.
The directness of painting directly on the plate requires skills of drawing and painting as well as a sure hand and a considerable degree of spontaneity.
Once you have a plate, just paint directly on it with etching or lithography inks using any kind of brush. After the image is painted, put the plate on a press bed, carefully place previously dampened paper and run your plate and paper through a press using light or moderate pressure.
Depending on the effects you want, you can use a variety of tools for painting the image; not only brushes, but also fingers, toothbrushes, foam brushes, sticks, sponges, feathers and anything that can scratch a plate such as needles, scissors or etching equipment.
Special effects can be achieved dabbing solvents such as mineral spirits or turpentine to your inked plate, allowing the solvent to dissolve the ink so as to create beautiful reticulate marks.
Another method of producing images allows to work negatively from dark to light by wiping off ink from the plate rather than adding it. First use a brayer to roll out a flat area of ink on the plate and then wipe away areas with a rag or cotton swabs and solvent to create lights and tones.
For textural effects, ink can be also removed with brushes, sponges or sticks just like Degas and Matisse used to do.
Another simple but effective method of producing monotypes seems to have been invented by Gauguin. This method, called direct trace drawing, produces a linear monotype that has a unique soft edged quality similar to the tone and line in soft ground etching. All you need to do is evenly ink a plate, place a piece of paper over the inked image area and then draw the image directly on the back of the paper, the lines drawn will be transferred and a reverse image produced. Massing lines together will produce darker areas while hand rubbing will create softer tones; by varying the pencil pressure and using different kinds of widths and hardnesses, different effects are obtained.
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