Monthly Archives: August 2009


I’d been vaguely aware of the existence of monotyping before, but until I found an old copy of The Painterly Print in a Notting Hill second-hand bookshop I hadn’t really considered trying it out. It’s a good way to use up the leftover ink I dollop out onto my glass plate after doing a batch of prints from something else (in this case, a set of 20 woodblock printed cards – they’ll be up online when they’re dry enough to scan) and it’s great fun.

The printmaking process I’ve been using so far doesn’t give much latitude for Messing Around with the ink – roll it on thinly and evenly and start smoothing away with the baren, and that’s it. What I did with the leftover ink, after doing 20 A6 cards, was to roll it out evenly across the glass plate, smear it around in wide curves with a piece of kitchen roll, mess it around a lot with a brush (artificial bristle, no. 8 or so) and then scrape a lot of loops and whorls with the stump end of the same brush.

Because there was just so much ink left over, I could press really lightly with the baren, and get a vivid black/white contrast I hadn’t expected. Black ink on glass over even a quite light surface (one of the inner pages of the Waltham Forest News) doesn’t show up much of a contrast between thick and nearly-cleared layers, so the looping white and pale grey lines I got were a pleasant surprise.

I managed to take three cognates from the plate as well as the print itself, though the fourth is mostly cloudy tones rather than noticeable lines.

One White Tree

One White Tree - Black 1

I’m quite pleased with this one. The image of a white tree on a black ground is something I’ve been trying to do for a while now, and not managed to my satisfaction. I did this partly as an excuse to use the new white ink (Graphic Chemical printer’s ink – though having switched to a tin and spatula with the black, going back to the stiff metal tube for the white is painful) – or to put it another way, I got the white ink so I’d feel impelled to use it! The paper is Fabriano Tiziano, which is technically a pastel paper, but is also the best coloured paper I’ve found. The black handmade paper I posted about a while back is very nice, but it’s about as lightfast as your average Ringwraith, so no good there. I’m not sure about the rating of this stuff, but it’s got to be a great deal better.

I’m not so good at the symmetry thing, being thoroughly right-handed – it’s much, much easier for me to draw the network lines going up and to the left than it is to draw them up and to the right. The right hand side of the tree is much more fluid and less cluttered as a result.