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Monoprint portrait - Part one

Part two will follow shortly - I'll be adding colour to today's portrait. Monoprinting is a great way to get a likeness.

I'm working in a sketchbook and I'm covering a couple of pages with a layer of gesso. You don't have to do this when you monoprint of course, but it's an extra that I've added as I want to come back in after printing with some colour, and the sketchbook pages need priming. You can monoprint quite successfully onto gesso, even if it's quite rough.


These are the materials I'm using. There's a couple of inks in the picture and I've decided to use the black block printing ink which is water soluble. The Caligo ink is oil based but also water soluble. The difference is when the Caligo is dry (about 2 weeks) you can paint over with wet media.

A brayer and printing tray and an A4 acetate sheet. This comes off of a gelli plate (it's the protective cover) You could also use plastic sheeting, laminating sheeting, plastic folder covers, laminated A4 paper, etc.

I've squeezed a little ink onto the tray, and am using the brayer to apply a very think coat of ink to the plastic sheet.

This is an important step as the sheet needs to be covered in ink but not too much. You should be able to hear the brayer as it rolls over the sheet - if you can't, the ink may be too thickly applied. (It sounds "sticky")

Place your inked plastic sheet onto your dry gesso sketchbook page. Ink side down.

Put a photocopy of the person you wish to monoprint over the top of the sheet.

Very gently, using a biro, go over the outlines and shadows of the photocopy. Be careful not to lean to heavily on the photocopy or you will transfer your palm prints to your picture!

You can see the biro marks I've made onto my photocopy.

And here's the result.
(Mr Portaloo was with a family member when this selfie was taken by them, so I'm not infringing copyrights etc.)

When the ink is dry, I shall paint.

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