For our second week of printing I thought we’d try our hand at monotyping!
This seemed a natural progression from our previous session, as it required a little more skill but is still a simple method. There is also a wonderful technique for this, which allows for a speedy tidy up. I found this especially useful being as in a school setting you only have an hour for workshops! Working around this has certainly been a learning experience for me, as my workshops are usually between 3 and 6 hours. With this in mind having quick clean up methods is absolutely imperative!
I introduced the ladies to two different methods at the start of the lesson, so as they could choose their preference, or have a go at both if they had the time! Some of them even stayed during lunch to have a go at both, which was certainly a good sign for me.
The first method is probably what you picture when thinking of a monotype, very illustrative, using a pencil or a pen to apply pressure and create a line drawing; think Tracey Emin’s print for examples of this kind. The second is a slightly unusual, more expressive and painterly method of printing; both Alison Lambert and Emma Amos work in this way.
Firstly we began by assembling our printing stations, this is where the speedy clean up comes into play. Using a method I discovered in a printmaking book (the location and name of which seem to escape me) we first laid down a sheet of newspaper. On top of this we each placed a sheet of acetate, this acting as both the printing plate, and place to trace from. Securing the two with a piece of masking tape down the left side, you end up with a hinge that can be used to life the acetate sheet up and down.
Opening up our acetate door it was time to see if anybody had remembered how to roll out the ink! It seemed so, though we did have an issue whereby with one ink tube the ink came out the wrong end!
The girls at first seemed keen to trace some photographs of natural forms which we had provided, which I think gave them the confidence to move on unaided, and soon we had freeform pattern and drawings going on. Experimenting with different level of blotting, and amounts of ink each person began to work out what their preference was and began to make some amazing work. Though I have actively encouraged them to keep any work which they think was unsuccessful, as we can reprint over it, or use it as endpapers and covers when binding.
One of the ladies and I were troubleshooting at one point, as her white prints simply weren’t working. We tried different paper, different blotting, and even different white ink, but found that nothing was really successful. With this in mind I will definitely be making a trip to Lawrence Art Supplies in Hove, to get some oil based inks. These have a much tackier texture and ought to work a lot better with our mainly relief based techniques.
Next week I am moving them on to pressure printing, and completely deciding what they will be printing. In our first session we were using predetermined plates, and today mostly tracing photographs. However now they have gotten to grips with the basics I think it is time to move them on to working with their own illustrations. Occasionally this is difficult as young people don’t know what to draw, or have issues with concerns their drawings aren’t good enough (an issue I have too!), but I have high hopes for their pressure prints! Do check back next week to see how it goes.
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