Monthly Archives: December 2012

Project 3 – Two colour masked monoprints

Two colour masked monoprints

I used oil based inks for these prints.

My first attempt was using my face mask, red and yellow ink and basic printer paper:

2 colour mono 2

The image is registered correctly, but there is a white line around the edge. This is presumably caused by the edge of the paper mask, which despite being made of very thin paper, causes the ink not to print right up to the edge. Maybe a printing press would force the ink closer?

The same process with the car mask:

2 colour car

I then tried the face mask again using some Chinese paper. The negative mask worked well on this, but I presume the ink was too dry, or the paper is not absorbent enough when I came to do the positive mask and the lines from the spoon mess up this print:

2 colour mono

I tried a print with the car mask using this to my advantage to create a random background and sketchily drawn detail on the car which I think worked well:

2 colour car 2

Three colour print

Here I printed the cars using the negative mask, first in yellow, then in orange. Finally the positive mask was used to add the blue background and I added some roughly sketched back drawing:

3 colour mono


Painted plate with 2 colour monoprint

I tried a two colour monoprint using the car masks and painting the printing plate. I tried using a thin Chinese paper for this print which maybe wasn’t designed for printing. The ink came through the paper and it rubbed through entirely in one area (and it still hasn’t dried after about 3 weeks! Maybe I will give up on Chinese paper for now!):

Painted car1


I tried a few experiments with impressing textures into the printing plate next. The notes said “using an inked-up printing plate press the items into the wet ink and lift them off”. I found this impossible to do though, I couldn’t get the items pressed well enough into the plate to make an impression, but I found that taking a print with the items on the plate, then removing them, worked well.

First print of dried leaves in blue ink, followed by transparent red ink with two bird positive masks:

Textured bird 3

Second print of dried leaves with a single bird mask which worked much better:

Textured bird 1

Second print of feathers with a single bird mask:

Textured bird 2

The feathers didn’t come out too clearly, but they gave a nice effect overall.

I tried a textured landscape which as you will see below didn’t work very well:

Textured Landscape

I’d used cotton wool for clouds, cut out foil with holes in for building outlines and tissue paper for sea in the foreground, but only the clouds really worked.


I’d already tried a few of these with earlier prints, but did a few more:

Backdrawing 1

For this one I took a print produced in Stage 2 and added text to it.

Backdrawing 2

Here I started from scratch drawing a design I had sketched on the back of the paper in a number of colours. I also bought some proper printing paper (Zerkall) for this print which seemed to work well (and certainly much better than the Chinese paper).

Both of these prints suffer from the ink coming through where it wasn’t intended to (the ink was probably too wet). I don’t think it matters too much on the second print though, except where there was a drop of water (above the reservoir surface) left on the printing plate after cleaning up which caused a big blotch.

Next I tried a still life drawing using back drawing in a single colour and also took a second print from the plate.

Back Drawing3

Back drawing of a still life

Print from the ink remaining on the plate

Print from the ink remaining on the plate

I prefer the initial image.

Back drawing forces you to use a more sketchy style as you can’t rest your hand on the print without getting ink under where your hand lies. I like this as my drawing are often detailed works, whereas I prefer sketchy drawings.

Sketching on the plate

I tried a few drawings of a face, this being the better one, drawn with toilet paper wrapped over a pen to soak up the ink:

Face sketch

Turps on oil

Sprinkling turpertine on oil based inks:

Turps print

This gave an interesting effect and could be a nice print to try to give the impression of rain on a windowsill.

Overall I’m please with some of the prints I have managed to produce in this stage and I am starting to see the benefits of the various methods of monoprinting.

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Project 2 – Positive and negative masked monoprints


These are the four drawings I used to make my monoprint masks:


The face shadow drawing is the reflection of my face in the printing plate, the car drawing is of a model mini, the leaves are from a card design book and the head and shoulder profile is from a photograph in a yoga book.

First prints

I started out using water based linoprint inks.

My first attempt with a negative mask and blue ink – I had too much ink on the plate here and didn’t use enough pressure to get the areas of detail. I also forgot to reverse the drawing:


A second print from the same plate – still not great, but got the ink in the small areas this time


A third print from the same plate with the mask removed and also an interesting effect from wetting the paper (just before printing, so not soaked evenly)


The second run with the same negative mask and ink, with the image the correct way around worked better


Moving onto the positive mask in red this time. The red ink gave a nice textured effect and the bold colour worked well with this design


Selection of prints

A selection of prints from my three other masks using both negative and positive prints

Leaves 2Leaves 1Printing0040Printing0043Second face 2Second face 1

I got a nice effect backdrawing swirls with the end of a wooden spoon on the negative mask of the car


How did you find this process?

  • Once I’d got the hang of the amount of pressure required, I enjoyed this process and produced some prints I was very pleased with.

Did your ink dry too quickly and not print evenly or was it easy to achieve a smooth print?

  • The water based inks did dry quite quickly, especially when taking second/third prints from the same plate, although this did give the opportunity to experiment with backdrawing. Overall it was reasonably easy to achieve a smooth print, although I prefer the prints where there is some texture to the print.

Does your image work well in both its positive and negative forms?

  • I think the negative prints work better for most of my prints because there is more ink on the plate and it makes a more complete image. For the positive prints, I like the third print from the negative mask with the mask removed, for the same reason.
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Project – Drawing plants and flowers

Exercise – Negative space in a plant

A3 drawing in graphite of the negative space around a pot plant.

Negative Space

I thought of this as an exercise and, although interesting, didn’t really see the point. However, after completing the following exercise it showed that getting the background drawn in first, helped in drawing the subject.

Exercise – Plants and flowers in coloured pencil

I tried a few methods of blending colours, but maybe due to the coloured pencils I have, I couldn’t manage to blend them using rubbing or smudging, which left me only hatching and layering as options.

Blending colour pencils

For the drawing I bought some cut flowers and arranged in a vase. However, I didn’t choose the easiest flowers to draw and the whole drawing took me about a day to complete (over a number of sessions)!

Coloured Pencil

I think I have done much better with the background in this drawing, and despite the bendy shadow on the vase, am pleased with most of the drawing. I am not sure I have really captured the three-dimensional aspect of the flowers though, due to lack of much shading or colour differences.

Exercise – Drawing with other colour media

I tried a few experiments in mixed colour media in drawing three of the flowers drawn previously.


For the image on the left, the negative space was drawn in watercolour pencil and then gone over with a wet brush – I missed the negative space between the stems though. After that, the flowers and glass were drawn in fibre tip pens.

For the image on the right, watercolour pencils then wetted were used for the whole image. I did start trying to add acrylic ink over the top, but whilst this showed up on the flower stems, it didn’t show up on the yellow flowers. I also tried adding oil pastels, but again nothing really showed up on the light coloured flowers – maybe I should have picked some bolder coloured flowers to try this on.


For the image on the left, I drew this in ink, then used acrylic inks (painted) to add the colour. I think this was the most successful image of the four.

For the image on the right, I drew this in pencil, then used acrylic inks (painted) to add the colour, although I went way over the top on the glass colouring. I tried adding colour using a dip pen and inks also, but this didn’t work too well on this paper, maybe because it was rough, or because it already had ink on it?

Check and Log

How will your experiments with negative space help your observational drawing in the future?

  • It can be a good way to get the background in before starting on the subject and giving it context. I tried using this in one of the experiments in mixed colour media, although not that successfully.

What techniques did you use to ensure you drew your plants in proportion?

  • For all the drawings I started out measuring the height of the subject, working out what was halfway in the image, getting in some basic shapes and then working from there, relating new objects to the ones already drawn.

How did you achieve an effect of three-dimensional space in your drawings?

  • The negative space drawing was intentionally flat, the flowers in coloured pencil has some effects of three-dimensional space, but more in the background around the flowers than on the flowers themselves. I found this difficult as the coloured pencils didn’t layer very well and the limited palette of colours didn’t allow for enough variations in colour to represent this. The pencils didn’t keep their points for very long at all and when drawing on A2 paper this was quite a drawback! For the experiments in coloured media I didn’t add much shading so they are pretty flat images, mainly because I drew them without a direct light source and there weren’t many shadows to draw.
  • So overall in this section the answer is that I didn’t really!
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