Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hosting a Monotype workshop

Giving a demonstration showing the application of watercolour onto Dura-lar wet media film 

Last Saturday I had the honour of conducting a workshop in Monotype printmaking for 14 enthusiastic members from Lakehead Visual Arts, a club I have been a member of since the mid 1980s.
I had been approached a while back by the club to see if I could give some type of printmaking activity that members could do in a one day session and that wouldn't be too expensive for supplies.
We explored two methods. The morning was spent working on subtractive monotypes using oil based etching ink that was rolled out on plexiglass plates from a brayer. The artists used a variety of tools including bamboo skewers, pieces of paper, tissue, blending sticks to remove ink from their plates. These were then printed onto soaked and blotted cotton rag paper using an etching press.

subtractive monotype by R.Vilim ã

working into the ink covered plexi to remove ink

the resulting print in reverse on paper after being pulled through
 the etching press onto damp cotton rag paper

subtractive monotype swine study by R. McKenzie

assisting one of the participants run a plate through the press

The second method we explored during the afternoon session was additive monotypes. Participants were given a piece of clear wet media Dura-lar film. They were able to put sketches and/or photos under it to use a painting guide. The wet media film allows washes and thicker applications of paints such as watercolour, gouache, createx monotype inks, and also acrylic paint and ink.
By placing dampened paper over top and using either hand burnishing with a tool or by running the film and paper through the press a transfer is made onto the paper. The painted medium can be dry or wet. If it is dry the damp paper will reactivate it. If you print onto dry paper you can apply a light misting of water to the plate or paper to facilitate activation of the media and allow transfer.

watercolour transfer by G. Postans made from Dura-lar
onto rag paper using the table top etching press

Since nearly everyone in this club are painters I thought that monotype would hold appeal, especially for the additive type where one can apply paint on a flat surface and transfer it in reverse onto paper.

watercolour monotype by R. Vilim ã

watercolour monotype by S. Bishop ã

participants working on their plates


  1. As one of the participants, I learned a great deal and had a wonderful day. Thanks Brian for a great workshop. Pat Izsak

  2. Pat
    thanks for supplying the photos from the workshop
    credit where credit is due

  3. hi, i was wandering where you can buy the press
    or if the sell smaller ones for home

  4. If you are living in the USA the Small 906 and Econo etch presses are found at Dick Blick in Chicago
    In Canada you can find baby presses available from Above Ground Art

    Curry's Art Store

    If you are in Europe you can check out Polymetaal from the Netherlands