Friday 20 September 2013


'FRIGHT' - Monoprint on cartridge paper


Today's offering for Martha's 29 FACES challenge is the monoprint above which was printed on cartridge paper.  I've made monoprints before back in the days when we had a huge workshop space behind the garage, and loads of room to store things.  Now that we live in a flat, I don't have the space or a sheet of toughened glass with bevelled edges any more, which is what I would normally use for this type of monoprint.

As the saying goes, 'If you can't have what you want, want what you have'.  Couldn't have my glass, so I decided to experiment with using an A4 sheet of clear acetate.  Here's howI started the process:

Firstly I needed to draw a face, and I wanted to draw the face of a frightened girl, which you can see above.  Actually in my quick sketch she doesn't look very frightened - it must have been a very small spider she saw.

I covered my desk ( = old dining table) with newspaper, laid the pencil sketch on the newspaper, then laid the clear acetate sheet on top and stuck it down with a bit of masking tape on each side.

I should have taken the photo of my workspace at the beginning, but of course I didn't think of it, so what you can see is the acetate sheet at the end of the process, where the sketch is hidden by the residue of printing ink left on it after the prints have been taken.  The printing ink is in the plastic dish, with the roller/brayer close to it.

I painted over the sketch with Speedball printing ink to which I'd added a retarder to give me plenty of time.  I haven't used the Speedball ink before, but it has the advantage that everything can be cleaned with water.  It was quite a different consistency to the printing ink I've used before, more runny, and I didn't make as good a job of painting on the acetate as I wanted.  I was using fairly fine brushes, but I mean, just look at those eyebrows!  Also, the acetate 'gives' when I roll over the top of the paper, whereas a good thick piece of glass is nice and solid.

Still my response to the 29 Faces challenge is experimentation, so the process is more important than the result.

This was the second print using ordinary ink jet printer paper.  The photos are so dark because of the grey, grey weather.  In fact I feel the greyness gives the image a more atmospheric effect, and the lady looks a little more scared than in the original drawing.

I'm quite pleased with this as a first attempt with the acetate.  It may produce unexpected results but at least I shall be able create monoprints again and improve my technique.  I don't need the newspaper in future because the Speedball ink was not messy at all, and the acetate will not 'give' as much.

There was enough ink for a third print on ordinary printer paper.  I like the effect of the faded ink, though I don't like the unexpected big blob of black.  Given time I would work into a print like this one using charcoal stick or charcoal pencil to take it to another level and give it a different effect.

And a bonus - the picture above shows the sheet of acetate when I have taken all three prints, leaving the dried ink on it after I had finished.  You will notice that in the three prints the eyes are looking to the right, whereas on the acetate sheet and the original sketch the eyes are looking to the left.  The prints are, of course, a mirror image.

Here's the first cartridge paper print again:

If you have a sheet of acetate and some printing ink, or even acrylic paint, I hope you might think of experimenting with the technique.

Here are the other six faces I have created this week for 29 FACES:

Also linking with Paint Party Friday and Manon's Paper Saturdays.


  1. I might try this with the gelli plate - I tried a face on the gelli plate before but it went a bit squidgy... I wonder if I could use drawing ink on the plate. Hmmm.

    She really does look scared in your printed piece - fab stuff.

  2. Love how you got there in the end. Your monoprint is wonderful. Valerie

  3. Wow I love how this turned out...still not quite sure how it works...but it's awesome none the less!! She really looks scared...a great Halloween piece! Thanks for sharing your process!

    Hugs Giggles

  4. Thank you for sharing your adventures in making art. Happy PPF, Annette x

  5. Very cool monoprint, I always find these fascinating.

  6. I love all the experimenting you are doing for the challenge. You are so creative and coming up with some very inspiring techniques. you could make a series of tutorial videos!

  7. Great technique with very interesting results. I had seen all of your faces except the collage with paper strips for hair. I really like that one.

  8. Fabulous work my friend.Very creative!

  9. Very interesting teknic. I have print some monotypes and lino. You must think all the time what it is coming when all is opposite.

    Your serie is wonderful and I can see how scared the Girl is. You grab the look very well.

  10. What a delightful array of faces, Jez! I love the lady at the bottom with the spiky hair. Your prints are always fascinating to me since I have done precious little of that art. The frightened lady at the top actually looks more startled than frightened, but later versions do look like she's scared.

  11. A very interesting process and three very interesting faces and all thanks to a scary spider. :-) I love how innovative you were in the absence of a plate. I also like the faded look you got with the first print.

  12. What wonderful faces and so different each one. Love that.
    xx Monique

  13. That's really cool! I love how you experiment so much. I could learn a lot reading this blog! :)

  14. I just love how you've been experimenting with different media and styles. Blessings, my friend!

  15. Wow Jez you have done well here and I ike how you are trying new things out each day. I may do that next time when I take part in the 29Face Challenge. Happy Paper Saturdays. ManonXXx

  16. oh Jez, what WONDERFUL faces!!! i love the contour lined one... took me a while to catch up with all your work. (i've been crazy busy but finally winding down. i'll write you soon). I really love how you push yourself with so many different styles. These faces are great. Hope you've been well. xox

  17. Wonderful faces! I love the effect and expressiveness of the prints. I do love the printing process, but I would never have thought of using the acetate plate this way! We used it for etching, when I had a printing course in my teacher education. Now I want to try this in stead of making a linol print. Seems a bit more straight forward, thank you for this idea!
    And thank you for the recent visits on my blog. Your comments really are appreciated!


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