Using masks in monoprints



I chose the cat scratching post as a shape for this exercise as it has a striking figure and made a pleasing composition. I thought the clean lines would suit the bold two colour masking. In practice, I found the thin areas really tricky to print successfully. The registration was good, but the image not as clean as I had imagined it would be. I was much happier with the ghost prints as the edges were really well defined, and the slight mis-registration created the illusion of shadow. I think this would work well with using found objects and leaves as masks, and have seen this technique used with gelatin prints.



For my next set of prints I used some sketches of blue tits as a basis for the design. Although the printing around the fanned wings was set to be even more difficult than the prints above, I thought that a softer, more feathery result might be acheived.



I think this worked rather well, and the registration was good. I had several attempts in improving my technique. I have found that rubbing from the mask towards the inked sections worked best to prevent ‘bleeding’ of the ink at the edges of the mask. I used the handle of a brush to define the edges. You can see some faint marks radiating from the wings where I have rubbed between the feathers. The blue ink was slightly unevenly rolled, but the contrast in textures was interesting. I am not sure if this would have worked better with more contrast between the colours used.


The ghost printsworked nicely as the slight shift between the images added again to the featheriness.




I had a quick go at back drawing with my remaining ink. I have learnt to use a thinner layer of ink next time, and pay extra care not to put any pressure on the back of the paper apart from the drawn marks.




Overall, I actually preferred the back of this piece, which isn’t exactly how I planned it. I had lightly painted around the mask on the reverse of the print to guide my drawing. I had used a rejected print from the last run, hence the yellow.



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