Reflection on Assignment 1 : Monoprints

Reflection on Assignment 1 : Monoprints

I worked on this first chapter of the Printmaking 1 course for a longer time than expected, due to various personal circumstances, which affected me quite intensely and consequently affected my work.
I have to admit that I found monoprinting far more complicated than I thought, and this especially because it was a totally new territory to me.

I think overviewing the whole monoprinting experience my biggest issue has been textures and how to make them stand out, probably due to the technique’s high chance of unpredictability. You can plan the various steps, make accurate measurements and registration, but you cannot really control the way the ink will appear on the paper as the factors contributing in modifying it are so many.

Monoprinting revealed to me completely new way of image making, however I have to admit I didn’t enjoy the process as much as other printmaking techniques I tried.
Working on something that comes difficult to me has been extremely useful though, and it is certainly something to explore further, in combination with other techniques.

I have done my best to adapt my drawing style to monoprinting and I felt it gradually got better throughout the unity.

Also the quality of the outcome got better, aided by the many mistakes made in the process.

It was very difficult to gather information about mono printing history. The books I had available only summarised the process and on the internet as well I could find the same few redundant informations.
Regarding the process of monoprinting, I found very useful video resources on youtube and OCA students website.

Thanks to mono printing, a window has been opened on my creativity, however I think there is far more work to get done to enhance this aspect.

 

Project 4: Textured and combination monoprints

Project 4: Textured and combination monoprints

Portait

For this fourth project I started off with a portrait, and particularly a self-portrait.
I was planning to get the portrait done in back drawing, on two different background colours, one for the hair and one for the skin tone. Firstly I sketched my portrait from a mirror onto paper. Then I traced this sketch onto another sheet, to have a reference when back drawing and to select the lines I wanted to reproduce.

I mixed the colours for the base and roughly spread them with a palette knife in the central area. I didn’t use any registration method on purpose, to obtain a slightly shifted image, which hopefully would have turned more interesting and expressive.

I took 2 prints of my background colours, the first one on a coloured paper and the second on a white one.

A printed a third time with the same colours on white paper, this time applying them with a brush.

Once I had my backgrounds done I started with the back drawing.

The first print on coloured paper was back drawn using a ballpoint pen.

scan-1

The second print has instead been back drawn with a coloured pencil.

Scan 2.jpg

Finally, the third print back drawing has been obtained taking a second impression of what the previous back drawing left on the plate.

Scan 3.jpg

 

I am really satisfied with all of the portraits, and I find all of them very interesting, however the one I think stands out the most is the first one.

Still life

I went on with a still life, sketching 3 of them. In the first place I decided to go for the matryoshka doll so I started cutting masks from the drawing. I decided that I wanted to have an oval frame and I rearranged the masks of the doll so they could fit in it. But I didn’t think that I would actually need some kind of guide to align the shapes through the various stages, so when it came to printing the faces and the apron I messed it up.

scan

scan-1

I decided to go for another subject, a jam jar, a toast and a knife.
This time I traced the drawing on another sheet so that I could use it as my guide for registration. This second time was definitely better than the first one but I must say I struggled quite a lot, maybe especially because I felt it was quite difficult to get a good definition of the shapes, due to the technique itself and so, making it really hard to create a recognisable still life.

I also tried using some objects to give texture, but the result was very poor, I guess the best way to make textures stand out is by using a press instead of hand printing.

Furthermore, it looked to me that layering those printing inks too many times didn’t allow them to dry properly, so when I tried to back draw the label of the jam vase, it turned out really weird.

Scan 2.jpg

Abstract

The abstract composition was the best to realise. I tried to plan it a bit in advance but I confess that I let myself go on this one and that is why I felt I reached good result enjoying the process.
For the first layer in violet, I used some stripe shaped mask teared from a newspaper and a bamboo mat I found in the kitchen to give some texture.
For a second layer I cut some shapes from a folded piece of paper (the kind of things I was always doing when I was a kid!) and used yellow ink, while on the other side I directly squeezed some white ink on the plate, which gave nice circles.
The next step was splashing some red colour (this was acrylic) and working it with the stick of a brush. I loved the way it melted with one of the white circles.
Finally I added some back drawing in black ink mixed with some blue.

IMG_20160910_114842.jpg

I realised I liked the result more because I didn’t have precise expectation on this one, being an abstract. I find mono printing really unpredictable and even though I think this is the beautiful side of it, it also is the hardest aspect to control, when you are trying to refer to reality.

Landscape

Lastly I worked on a landscape. I imagined an industrial landscape and I did a quick sketch.

The first layer I printed has been the background, which I textured with a feather. Even though some of my fingerprints are visible I quite liked the result, as the shapes obtained together with the colour I used reminded me of trees.

I printed the top hill as a second layer, using a palette knife directly on the plate and darkening the same colour used for the background.

The next step has been back drawing in black the thin structures onto the background and over printing them with the dark silhouette on the top of the hill.

I then painted with a brush onto the plate the two darker hills in the bottom, texturing the darkest corner with a smaller feather.

the final touch has been the smoke coming out of the factories chimneys.

IMG_20160910_154428_1.jpg
I quite liked the final result of this landscape, even though I still found difficult to texture the ink and to plan everything to get a what is in my mind.