18 & 19/04/16
Two Coloured Masked Monoprints
In this project you will continue to use your masks from the previous section, both positive and negative, to make a two-coloured print.
Method of two colour print:
- Select two contrasting ink colours
- Select which colour for each positive and negative print
- Have two clean printing plates ready
- Ink one plate with positive print colour and the second with negative print colour to suit mask size (A3)
- Lay negative mask on colour that will have the positive print (blue)
- Lay positive mask on colour that will have the negative print (yellow)
- Take negative print first (background colour yellow), lay printing paper over mask, ensuring the registration creases are prominent from the plate
- Take the print and carefully remove
- Line up the printed paper on the positive blue inked printing plate correlating the registration marks with the edge of the plate
- Take the print and carefully remove the paper
All seemed well except for a couple of crucial points:
- I was not at all sure how to accurately line up the negative and positive masks on their corresponding printing plates so that the image would match – so they didn’t by some way
- I forgot to clean up the inked edges before printing
As the positive and negative masks were so out of alignment that I was definitely going to have to try again, I removed both masks and reprinted both colours on top, again using the registration marks so at least the ink would correlate. Initially, I thought “what a mess!” although since, in a strange way, I quite like the effect although it could be somewhat neater. Anyway – take two…
The main issue to address was the alignment of the negative and positive masks on their corresponding printing plates. I decided to mark the A3 paper size on the reverse of each plate with masking tape so I could align the top right corners of the negative mask and a piece of A3 paper on the plate that would be for the positive mask. The main problem was placing the positive mask in the correct place as there were no landmarks to use. I then realised that if I tape another negative mask of the same design against the A3 markers underneath the glass printing plate, I could then align the positive mask to the negative. This would ensure that the positive and negative prints were matching – as in the below photographs before I get any more confused!
Once all the alignment guides were in place, I could again ink the plates with the appropriate colours and take the two coloured prints as intended.
Very pleased with this attempt after such an abject disaster initially. The blue ink on the first pull could have been a bit more consistent and there are a couple of dots of blue where they shouldn’t be, but generally not too bad. The second pull, although fainter seems to have eliminated the previous two issues.
Next I reversed the colour-way for a contrasting print.
With the first print, the medium weight cartridge paper was used again and positive mask (negative print) again produced a chunkier horse silhouette, which combined with the lighter positive image against the dark background, made for a more heavy-looking shape. However, on the second pull, having received my newsprint paper, the lighter weight paper slimmed down the negative print (positive mask) so much it was fairly bang on matching. This has proven my theory that for a positive mask, the thinner printing paper moulds to the contours of the shape much better.
I decided to carry on and choose another design to work on, plus being smaller ie A4 and to use the A3 newsprint as printing paper.
The above are two prints using two colours as before but as the size was A4 printed on A3 it was less cumbersome in practice, plus using the lighter weight newsprint as the print paper, the distinction of the positive mask in particular was much more defined.
The idea here was to mix yellow into the red ink to achieve a sunset effect. This almost worked except the amount of ink at the top where the colours were mixed was more concentrated and unfortunately the neat red ink at the bottom of the print was less dense and looked a little patchy in comparison. The second print, where more of the red was added had the opposite effect as the yellow was lost. The other issue I came across here was that the mixed colours were too thick and squishy and, as I lifted the print paper away, it also pulled off the mask as it had stuck to the print paper also. This was just an experiment and could work if more care was taken to mix the colours properly rather than relying on the roller to do this.
- When using larger print paper and two or more printing plates, clear all superfluous items from your workspace – trying to control the paper, align prints and avoid contamination is not helped by clutter around the area
- Forethought in preparation to register the prints and align masks on separate printing plates is key to success
- Consider appropriate paper weights for desired results
- Clean around printing plate to remove excess ink
- Think, plan, print!