One of the first times I was happy with my painting output is when I made mono prints. I learned from a class on the amazing Creativebug. Sharing my slimmed-down version in step-by-step instructions here. There also are different techniques on Youtube.
Let’s get started…
Gather your materials…
- Strathmore printing paper – I have a pad of 8×10 – not too expensive for 40 sheets. Watercolor paper could work – just something that can take ink and water.
- Painter’s or Artist’s tape
- A straight pen with a “Nikko G” nib. The type of nib is important – you need one that is fairly inflexible to make a thin line – otherwise the lines on your print will be too messy.
- A sheet of transparency
- A computer and a printer
- FW Acrylic Ink – probably other inks would work – but I don’t chance it. This ink is gorgeous for this project and it doesn’t get smeared with the watercolor – which is essential. I use the color “Red Earth” in these pictures because I love the old-fashioned look – but any color will work. I am going to try hot pink someday.
On the intertubes, search for an image and print a copy of it that will fit within your printmaking paper size.
- Adding “line drawing” will help find images that will be easy to trace.
- It is better to use picture of objects to trace – rather than pictures of people. The smudged lines will distort people’s faces and they might not be happy with the result.
- Simpler images are better – but you can always omit tracing all of the lines in a picture.
- Keep in mind that the image will be backwards – so no words.
- You could also draw your own picture!
“Register” everything. This means to take everything down so it stays in place since you will be “printing” over and over in the same place. Tape the original image closest to you. Tape the transparency on top of the original image. Tape the printmaking paper on the edge closes to you like a hinge. Fold the printmaking paper over and make sure the image will print in a good place on the paper.
Drop a little ink onto a palette. I use an old tea bag holder – perfect shallow size.
Now the fun!! Dip your nib into the ink and draw a few trace lines over the image. Fold the printmaking paper over and apply medium pressure to print the ink lines onto the printmaking paper. Repeat until the entire image is transferred.
- Because I am right-handed, I go left to right, top to bottom so I can anchor my arm and hand without dragging it through already-inked traced lines. (Ignore the picture above – I started on the wrong side!)
- Start with thin lines of ink and increase the amount as you judge the amount of ink you need to use to get the impression you want.
- If you use too much ink or trace lines that are very close to each other, you will get blobs. Some blobs are good – adds to the effect!
Use your watercolors to fill in the print. I love bright colors – but use whatever you like.