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.


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