Monoprint and Monotype

Monoprint and Monotpye are generally considered the most painterly printmaking processes.  In a way, you are printing a painting.  They are non-editionable prints because the images and lines usually cannot be exactly reproduced and no two prints end up being perfectly alike.  The beauty of this medium is in its spontaneity and its combination of printmaking, painting and drawing media.  The process offers an opportunity to explore color separations and transitions, hand rubbing, mark making, tone, texture, and chiaroscuro with the potential to produce imagery from bold to ethereal.  

Monotypes and monoprints are different.  Monotype is a planographic process.  The matrix, or plate, is flat and featureless.  This means it contains nothing (such as etched or engraved lines) that will pass on any characteristics to the prints. Because there are no permanent features on the plate, all imagery relies on the artist working with the ink to create one distinctive print.  At most two similar impressions can be pulled.  

With monoprinting stencils may be used or the matrix may be carved or otherwise manipulated so that it can be reused to produce similar but not identical results.  Most printmakers eventually discover monoprinting on their own, usually when the ink in an editionable print does something unexpected and interesting or through happy accidents during clean up.  There are many monoprinting techniques, including collage, stenciling, hand-painted additions, and a form of tracing in which thick ink is laid down, paper is placed on top and is then drawn on, transferring the ink onto the paper.  Monoprints can also be made by altering the type, color, and pressure of the ink used to create different prints.  Multiple layers can be printed at once or in a sequence.  Various processes can be combined to make a single print. and "What is a monotype?" are also helpful websites.  

A lot of mono printing happens at Crow's Shadow Institute10 Grand Press and the Monotype Guild of New England.  Some artists who have made mono prints are Joyce SilverstoneMateo GalvanoLynne Barton, Daniel Brice, Emmi Whitehorse, Jaune Quick-to-see Smith, and Angela Malchionno.

Start looking through the websites under Online Resources for printmaker artist influences.  The IFPDA, Davisdson Galleries, Tamarind Institute, and Tandem Press are good sites to start with as they have pretty a broad range of artists.

Printeresting is a good website for keeping up with the oddball goings on in the world of contemporary printmaking.

The point of this assignment is that you should learn what you can do with the ink, how the presses work, how to work without making a big mess, and how to clean up the shop properly.

This assignment is designed to give you some time to practice with the ink and some time to get started working in your journals outside of class.  (you're doing that right? make sure you're doing that.)

Before the first class on this assignment: 
- Watch the video Monotype - Vanessa Enos under Helpful Videos.  
- Write yourself a basic description of the monoprint process in your sketchbook.   
- Look through the websites and at the variety of possibilities with monotype.  You won't care for the content of all of the work, but there's usually something visually interesting in almost every print.  Pay attention to that.  If you see some things that has an interesting look, print it and put it in your journal.  We'll figure out how they were probably made so you can use that process.    
- Develop a simple idea to work on. Don't be overly concerned with figuring out the perfect thing to make. Think about what you spend your time doing, what you like, and what you're interested in.

These will be bleed prints, the ink goes all the way to the edge of the paper.  They must be the same size as your plate and you must tear the paper to the correct size before you begin printing.

You'll need:
- A Sharpie.
- An Ex-acto knife and maybe scissors.
Compile a random collection of materials for applying and removing ink, stencils for creating sharp edges, etc.  You may want a few cheap brushes for this assignment.  Maybe a one inch flat, a half inch flat, and a round of similar size.  A small stencil brush will come in handy if you can find one.  Toothbrushes are good for flicking speckles.
- Monoprint can be a messy process.  You may want to invest in a box of rubber gloves.  You will definitely want to wear clothes you don't care about.

Preliminary Assignment:  

Session 1: Learning to work with the ink and the press.
(In shorter summer and winter terms we will skip this step.) 
- Experiment with the ink, your random collection of materials and stencils.  Figure out what you can get the ink to do.  See what happens when you change the pressure on the press.  

Process Suggestions:  
- Print translucent layers over each other.
- Hand rub a layer rather than using the press.
- Place your paper face down on the ink and draw or write on the back of the paper.  
- Pull a print and then, without manipulating or adding more ink to the matrix, pull a ghost print.  
- Use stencils to make hard lines and distinct shapes.  
- Use random objects to apply and manipulate your ink.  
- Find things to make interesting textures; leaves, fabrics, Grandma's doilies, crumpled paper, wood, etc.

Session 2 A practice run on newsprint.  
After the practice session you ought to have a decent idea about how this print is going to go.  Now, before class, create an image to print.  Figure out what techniques and effects are needed to make your print.  Trouble shoot.  

You are practicing and developing a strategy for making your print.  Figure out what colors you'll need.  Are those colors available in the shop?  Do you need to mix them?  In what sequence do they need to be printed?  Figure out what this process will and will not let you do.  Figure out if you'll need stencils or not, any special tools, etc. Think about what you can do with the ink and how you can make a compelling print.

Interesting painterly effects can be achieved by mixing different colors or different versions of the same color and applying them in layers.  You may create additional colors by carefully planning the way your colors layer over each other in the print. For example, yellow over blue can make green if you do it right.  Overlapping colors can also lead to beautiful illusions of depth and space.  However, if not done with a strategy in mind, three or more layers can quickly turn into a muddy mess.  Plan carefully.  Think about what will happen when you mix or overlap your colors.

Primary Assignment:
- Make a suite of 5 similar prints.
- Your prints must include the white of the paper, at least two other colors and a key color.  Black is usually a convenient key color.  
- Your prints should be bleed prints the same size as your plate.

After you've completed the practice run on newsprint you should know exactly what you need to do to print your image and be capable of making your print on your own.  You are free to come into the shop and make your final print on your own time.  Combine what you've learned to make an awesome suite of prints.  

Printing Steps:
1.  You will have a sheet of Plexiglass which will serve as your matrix.  There are multiple ways to transfer your outline to the matrix.  Two examples: 

- You may choose to draw your image on the back of your matrix with a marker like in the Vanessa Enos video.  You can then flip the matrix over and ink the other side for printing.  

- You may also make and use paper stencils as a secondary matrix.  You can use your drawing to register them.  Stencils can be inked and used as positive stencils, or uninked negative stencils that block a portion of the ink from getting to the paper.  

2. The Press:  Prepare the press and set the pressure before you do any inking.
- Protect the press bed with a large sheet of newsprint.
- Lay down your matrix and a sheet of good paper.
- Protect the blankets with at least two large sheets of newsprint.
- You should have two thin wool blankets with a thick felt blanket in between.
- Make sure that everything is centered and that the blankets do not extend beyond the ends or sides of the press bed.
- Roll everything through and adjust the pressure until it's set as you like it.

3: Paper:  
- Tear several sheets of newsprint or good paper to the same size as your plate.  
- There is a large sink in the center of the shop for soaking paper.  Experiment with printing on wet and dry paper.  (Being wet or dry won't make much difference with the newsprint.)
- The water needs to be warm, not hot, not cold.  
- Initial your paper on the back so there will be no confusion about which paper is whose.
- The paper needs to soak for about a minute.  It won’t hurt to soak longer as you will be removing the excess water with the blotters.
- If the blotters are dirty they can transfer unwanted information onto your print.  DO NOT GET INK ON THE BLOTTERS!

3. Inking:  
- Remember, we can't get the ink back in the tube.  It won't take as much as you think.  
- Mix your colors and roll out your inks.  
- Don't let your ink spread too far.  Keep it nice and tight.  The more you spread it out, the faster it will dry.
- Leave the roller on it's back when not in use.  If left face down the roller can develop flat spots and then won't cover evenly.  

4. Printing: Again, you must print with a partner, one of you with clean hands and the other to do the inking.  Make sure the press bed and blankets are properly protected with newsprint.  Make sure you replace the newsprint when it gets messy.  DO NOT GET INK ON THE BLANKETS OR BLOTTERS!  

5: Clean Up: 

- Clean up your plate, ink, and rollers. Use phonebook pages, cooking oil, mineral spirits, and Simple Green on the glass topped tables.  Do not use soap, water, or Simple Green on the rollers.
- Any materials with solvent on them must be disposed of in the Red Bins, not in the trash.  
- Phone book pages and cooking oil are excellent for cleaning up ink.  
- Mineral spirits should clean off anything left behind by the cooking oil.  
- Make sure not to leave an inky film on the glass.  This can create problems for anyone working behind you.  

- Take the blankets off of the press and store them either folded on top of the press or hung on the rack.  Do not leave the blankets in the press.
- Leave the press bed centered in the press.  It will sag over time if left extended.
- Put your registration template in a safe place.  You will re-use the same one at every step.
- Put any damp blotters in the drying rack.  

Artist's Statements:
You will also turn your first artist's statement with your prints.  You need to expand what you've written on what you're interested in and why.

You have two weeks to complete this assignment.

On critique day, you will have ten minutes to get ready before we begin. 
- Make sure you have identified your prints in pencil on the back.  Make your best print number one and the print you are least satisfied with number five. 
- Hang number one from your suite of prints at about sixty inches on center above the floor. Use a loop of tape on the back; do not put tape on the front of your print.  
- You'll each draw a number, make a written critique of the corresponding print, and present that print to the class.  
- After critique place your prints and artist's statement on the table outside my studio.  

This assignment will be scored based on three criteria.  These criteria will be weighted and assessed as follows:
1. Concept: 5 Points. 
Interpretation and application of your own ideas to the assignment using expressive, emotive, and aesthetic elements.  Ask yourself “What am I trying to say with this image?” “How can I visually convey my idea?”
2. Participation: 5 Points. 
Attendance, involvement with your group, putting in time in the shop, proper shop etiquette, participation in discussions and critiques. 
3. Process: 10 Points. 
Display an understanding of the process, making an edition of consistent prints, registration, and general neatness of the work. 

The complete assignment is an edition of prints and an artist's statement.  Incomplete assignments will continue to loose points for lateness until everything is turned in.

Additionally, the following will cost you a letter grade:
- Fingerprints or smudges on your prints. 
- Failure to properly identify your prints. 
- Failure to turn in an artist's statement with your prints.
- Prints hung after critique begins will be considered one day late.