Monoprinting is a form of printing that has images or lines that can only be reproduced once.  The fleeting image must be printed before the ink dries.  A reverse image is produced.  The smoother the paper or fabric the sharper the image. 

We used acrylic paint mixed 50%/50% with medium to stop the paint drying out.  The ink can dry out too, but adding a couple of drops of washing up liquid can help to prevent this.  Acrylic ink can also be used, Art Van Go are suppliers. If you use it on fabric it may not be fast. Kor-i-nor dye is not fast on fabric. You can also obtain Kor-in-nor paint.  An interesting effect arises when you use the two and apply bleach.  The dye will be removed but the paint won’t.  

Sue demonstrated several methods of monoprinting.

1. She put blobs of paint between 2 sheets of acrylic and twisted.   This mixed the paint, she then pulled the plates apart carefully and  made a print by gently pressing paper and fabric onto the plates.  Excess pressure will destroy the pattern.  Glass can be used as a plate but should be bound with masking tape for safety.

2. Next she took a sheet of acrylic and applied some printing ink onto it.   She then used the roller to print moving away from her.  The plate was prepared again with paint and then marked by “drawing” (any mark making tool can be used) and a print was taken.  This needs to be done carefully and gently to avoid smudging and blurring the image.

3. Another method is to prepare the plate with paint or ink as smoothly as possible put fabric or paper down and then “draw” with any mark making tool.  Take a print and then leave to dry.

4. Draw onto plate (image will come out backwards).  You can have a drawing to trace underneath if you use an acrylic/glass transparent sheet.   I “drew” with a roller and took a print onto fabric as you can see below.  I roller printed onto very thin paper and each time the print got fainter as the paint was used up.

One can monoprint on any shape, can also change the ground, pleat the paper and cut out shapes.   Also you can glue tiles to MDF, plate up with paint or ink and create a background by taking a print.  Other variations include placing plant material or other flat objects onto the plate and taking a print.

There is a spontaneity and freedom in this method of printing which I think gives it a liveliness.  It is the most akin to painting in that respect. I have used it extensively in the past and favour it as a method because of this.  I am particularly drawn to using it on fabric because you can create a printed surface that is completely individual and achieve a painterly effect relatively quickly.  One can plan to print just what is needed and therefore you only need to print specifically what is required for that project so there is little wastage.

One disadvantage is that the paint can make the fabric harder to sew.  That is not so true of the dyes, but I like the colours and effects you can get mixing the paints.

The Encyclopedia of Printmaking techniques by Judy Martins

Designing and Printing Textiles by June Fish










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