Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

Line Drawings

We are always in dialogue, not only with other people but everything in the world.  Everything addresses us in a certain sense.  Each of us is uniquely addressed in our particular place in the world.  One can see one’s exterior only through others’ perspectives.” Mikhail Bakhtin


How to Make an easy Mono-Print or Trace Mono-Type

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This easy exercise will take about 15 minutes preparation and 30 minutes in execution but the results will be well worth it.  Oh, if forgot, you may need 10 minutes or so to clean up.

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of good quality paper, whatever size you choose. It is probably best to do a practice run first.
  • A piece of craft paper or soft cardboard to suit the paper size.
  • A flat piece of plastic board (not too thin) to suit the paper size or larger.  I purchased one at a junk shop.
  • A clean piece of board, Masonite or similar.  Artists boards are available at art or hardware shops at a reasonable price or you may have one around the house.
  • A brayer or roller suitable for mono-printing.  I purchased one cheaply from an art shop.
  • A jar of mono printing ink, choose your own colour, black is the most popular.  Inks are available at art shops.
  • An old plastic teaspoon.
  • Clean rags, gloves, mask (optional.)

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Firstly, place small amounts of the mono-printing ink here and there on the board with a plastic teaspoon.  Take no notice of the text written on my board, it won’t come off!

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Next, roll the ink onto the board until it coats thinly.  If the ink coats too thickly the mono-print will have to be done several times to get a good print which can be fun.  Thick ink will produce blobs of ink here and there.  This is my ink-coated plate.

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Next, I placed an item of clothing on to the plate.  You can use anything you like, string, rubber gloves, the sole of an old shoe, a piece of old mesh, anything that has grooves to make a textured mark.

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Then I placed the sheet of  craft paper down over the play suit and rubbed the paper over firmly and evenly so as to gently press the play suit against the ink.  Allow the work to rest while you prepare another piece of paper by laying it onto either a table (not in the dining room!) or a clean artists’ board.  This is in readiness for the ink-soaked item to be placed on the clean page.

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Once I had evenly and firmly pressed the entire top sheet of paper I removed it to again reveal the item of clothing.  Gently and carefully I lifted the play suit off the plate and placed it face down on to the clean sheet of paper I had earlier prepared on the board.

I then placed an old piece of craft paper on top and rubbed the work over again as previously.

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I then gently rolled it over with the rolling pin to get an even print.

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Then this was the exciting part, I lifted the craft paper off and then lifted the play suit off the plate to reveal what was underneath.

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I ended up with a lovely print and you can see the complete image at the top of the page.

Here are some pictures of other mono-prints done in my days at art school using junk I found from a recycling shop.  I used the same method as above and later went in with some watercolours when the ink was dry.

Good luck with your mono prints but a word of warning, this process is addictive because of its unpredictability and the amazing, surprising effects you can get.

After Kandinsky Arbeiter Communication Breakdown