Tag Archives: monoprint

exp_err – Monoprint Man

25 Mar

exp_err_final.jpg

If I had any doubt that exp_err would get a nude, it disappeared after fred_bear went all art nouveau. Also, exp_err had expressed some enthusiasm towards receiving a naked chick when the meme first started so I thought I was probably onto a sure thing 😉 Just to clarify, though, Monoprint Man is not a naked chick, but a naked bloke. I think it’s pretty obvious, but I realise that his crossed arm could be considered a bosom and his genitalia is rather indistinct. This is the beauty of the monoprint!

So what is a monoprint?

Well, as it’s name might suggest, it’s a one-off print – the most painterly of the printmaking techniques!! (I love this phrase 🙂 Traditionally, monoprints are prepared by painting ink onto a panel (non-porous perspex or metal or glass) and then putting a piece of paper over the panel and sticking the whole thing through rollers to transfer the image. The act of rolling can cause unexpected results that you just don’t get with a straight painting. Apparently some artists display both their prints and the panel as ‘mirror images’. The technique we used in class (and that I had also used in my ‘first steps’ class) is simpler. Ink is rolled onto a perspex panel, a piece of paper placed lightly over the panel and the ink transferred through pressure – either by using a pencil or your fingers or whatever you like. So a monoprint with this front has this corresponding back. The lovely thing about monoprints is their unexpected quality. You never know exactly how the image will look until you peel off the paper. The simple act of rolling the ink on your panel can affect how your final art work looks. The thickness and quality of the line changes depending on how thick the ink is and how many prints have been made beforehand. Monoprinting is also very tactile – pressing with your fingers almost feels like you’re sculpting. While some monoprinting is laborious, the technique we used doesn’t take that long to do. I reckon I did up to 20 monoprints in class, when normally I might do between 5-10 pictures depending on what we’re doing. But, while this might imply these monoprints are quick and disposable, each one is absolutely unique and can’t be repeated.

I did not plan to give exp_err a monoprint. In fact, in the week before we did monoprinting, I’d gone into class with the aim of creating a whole painting for her. However, it was – if not crap – not what I was hoping for. I think in this case one of the problems was that I was really drawing with paints, rather painting (something I’m working on now). But also, in a 3 hour class the longest pose is normally an hour and it is just not possible to get above a certain level of consideration and care. From this respect, monoprinting is a great technique for a lifedrawing class. And when I reviewed my work at home, I knew that exp_err would get one.

So why this picture? I did consider some of the smaller pieces, which are very striking on their coloured A4 card. However, I think Monoprint Man has a much more subtle quality to him. There are lots of things I love about this picture. I *love* the curve that traces along his back, created by me rolling the ink on the perspex, and completely independently of the line I then traced for his back. I love how indistinct his body actually is – but how you can find his fingers peeping out from under his arm if you look closely enough. I love the composition – the fact he has no head (!) And he looks great framed[1].

Monoprinting suits my TV attention span in a way that other painting techniques can’t[2] and I certainly intend to get my own roller and perspex to do more of these in the future. There’s a lot of potential.


[1] Framing also hides the scrappy paper edge… :-O
[2] But I’m working on this too 🙂