Waterbased Monotypes

A few months ago I started doing some water based monotypes in response to the ink drawings I was working on at the time. The idea was to create some monotypes that replicated or built upon the bleeds and washes that I was using within the ink drawings. What I thought was interesting about allowing the ink to bleed was that I could control the ink, but only to a certain degree. At some point I had to give in to the ink and be satisfied with where it ended up.

I did several experiments to try and figure out whether these water based monotypes would work. In the end, I realized that a key part of getting control over the pieces was to allow the printing ink to dry 100% on the surface of the plexiglass sheet. This would prevent the ink from squeezing out and printing in areas I didn’t want it to. I did several where I didn’t wait for the ink to dry fully and the ink ended up spreading everywhere all over the print. I stopped doing them for a while because I became frustrated by how wildly unpredictable the results were; I got 1 print that I thought was pretty interesting, but the rest either suffered from technical problems or really weren’t that good. The risk factor in these prints was so high, and I think at the time I wasn’t willing to put up with the low productivity level that was a result of this.

I’ve started thinking recently that perhaps I should revisit these monotypes and see what happens, now that I have a better grip on the technique and process. When I showed some of these prints at a Boston Printmakers meeting a month ago, many people were surprised to find out that they were monontypes and not lithographs. I suppose the textures I was getting looked a lot like tusche. I think if I do revisit them it will be on a smaller scale- these earlier prints were on 22″ x 30″ paper and I think they were suffering because of this scale.

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