The art of monotype

I’ve posted about the way I make monotypes before so I won’t go into too much detail here. I continue to find the process fascinating and thrilling – the way each layer can completely change the quality of the image. Its a risky business but when it works it is incredibly satisfying! Enjoy this short picture essay of the process involved in some recent prints.

This was the drawing I made on the Bass Rock of a nesting Herring Gull. I thought it would translate well into a monotype:

herring gull under pipe small

Rolling different coloured inks onto a clear perspex plate and then wiping way to recreate the basic shapes and colours of the design. I’ve adapted the drawing to give a sense of the Bass Rock context by incorporating a view through to the mainland with the distinctive shape of North Berwick Law in the background:first stage

And this is how it looks once its transferred onto the paper through the rolling press at Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop:first layer printed

The plate is re-inked with one colour of blue and a rub away drawing made on it in order to reveal areas of light and colour underneath. Red is added to the eye and the beak:gull second layer plate

The second layer goes down, allowing me to see how the print is working and decide whether any more layers are required:nesting gull dark two layers

Not much needed doing to get it to this stage – if you look closely you can see some further definition to the face and shadows of the bird and a lightening up of the sea and sky to knock it back:nesting gull dark smallAnd here is another version of the same subject. Often when I make monotypes I do two versions – you can use ghost layers as a starting point for another print. In this print the grey is much softer and the definitions of the face are slightly altered:

nesting gull pale smallAnd another print made during the same session. I liked this sketch made of a swimming cormorant on Tanera Mor and remembered the way its body was half-submerged under the clear waters around the island. I thought it would translate well into a monotype:

cormorant sketchbook page And here is the result – the biggest monotype I’ve made to date!

cormorant monotype small


About flyingcreature

I'm a Cumbrian born painter and printmaker based in Scotland. My work is inspired by British nature. I studied on the Foundation Course at Leith School of Art in 2003 before going on to take the MA Fine Art degree at Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University graduating in 2008. I now make my work from my studio in Coburg House and teach drawing, painting and printmaking at Leith School of Art and around Scotland.
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6 Responses to The art of monotype

  1. Leo du Feu says:

    Kittie you’re good! I love the unusual viewpoint of the cormorant; the sliver of warm light on its head, neck, back; the glimpses of landscape beyond the sea.

  2. Melinda says:

    Hi Kittie,
    These prints are fantastic!
    You have such an eye to be able to anticipate how the layers will come together.
    I love the textures and varying degrees of softness that you achieve.

  3. Daniel Hayhow says:

    Hi Kittie, what type of inks/paints do you use for monotype prints?

    • Hi Daniel,
      Good to hear from you – I hope you’re well! The inks I use for my monotypes are Intaglio litho/relief inks, you can also use etching inks but I find the litho ones are less slippy. They’re oil based inks but you can clean them off with vegetable oil and a rag so you don’t have to use solvents in the process at all. Are you planning on making some monotypes? Kittie

  4. Pingback: Combining Techniques | Flying Creatures

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