Monoprinting is a versatile method of printing using a prepared matrix and a variety inking techniques - a method, I must admit, I have not engaged with often! For our first year Studio Methods course, we're required to explore a range of techniques using stencils on an inked plate as our matrices - or what I believe is called a 'collage' monoprint. The stencils can be manipulated in several ways - they can be either positive or negative images (blocking out or adding colour), can be used on both sides to create 'mirror' images, painted or wiped to create tone and texture or used for 'ghost' prints when using the residual ink for a second or third print run. The use of stencils allows not only for freedom of inking and printing methods, but also the opportunity to experiment with composition and layering. I was pretty excited to get started, to say the least!
Preparing stencils: For this first phase in preparing stencils, I needed a bit of inspiration. I looked to a few vintage children's
books on my bookshelf for this and decided to go for a playful, whimsical theme. I found an old copy of 'Awakening' by John Galsworthy and 'The House that Beebo Built' by Philippe Fix.
Both are stories of adventure and finding freedom from the confines of the real world, and the illustrations helped me come up with a few ideas. I decided to start with a boy in various positions of movement (jumping, climbing, falling, etc), then phantasmagorical modes of travel (sailing in a bathtub, riding a peacock, soaring on a rocking horse, etc).
I also wanted to add some texture to the stencils as I would be adding to 'failed' prints which already had busy and intricate black lines throughout. I thought the twisted nature of branches and leaves would be a good idea, . This would allow me to pull the space together, and I could also highlight a few details in the print that I really liked (such as birds, hot air balloons and feathers).
I may have gone overboard with some stencils and 'found' objects, and included a few flowers, curls, stars, snowflakes, waves and clouds.