This upcoming fall semester I’m teaching two new drawing classes, “Drawing All to Itself” in the RISD Printmaking department and also “Advanced Drawing” at Wellesley College. I’ve been ruminating about both courses all summer, and I’m just now finishing up the course handouts. I’ve also been searching around for new and different drawing exercises and techniques to be exploring in the courses. Last semester I happened to briefly visit Tom Mills’ freshman drawing class at RISD, where they were doing “monotype drawing”. A monotype drawing is a simple technique where you apply a mix of gamsol and oil paint and wipe the combination all over a plexiglass plate. Next a sheet of white paper is laid over the plexiglass plate and directly drawn on with a pen or pencil. When the white paper is flipped over, the oil paint has transferred itself where the pencil or pen was used.
My rule for teaching any technique is that I have to have done it myself, no matter how simple the technique may seem in principle. I decided to try out the monotype drawing technique today to see how it actually worked. I didn’t set out to accomplish anything in terms of product, so I felt free to throw out anything on paper that was remotely related to brainstorming for my new “Falling” project. The process is highly unpredictable depending on the thickness of the oil paint mixture, which made for surprising results every time. The process was a unique intersection of drawing and printmaking that I found exciting and wonderful.