A Day’s Monoprinting Workshop

I was offered a cancellation place on a one day monoprinting workshop with a local printmaker, Ann Burnham http://www.annburnham.co.uk .


Initially we experimented with inking a plate , placing a sheet of light, smooth  paper over it, another sheet to draw on, and drawing into the back. This picks up a line of ink which has a fuzzy, charcoal effect. Here I used a pencil to draw and then my fingers to generate different tones. I pressed a piece of texture fabric in to create the moon/sun effect. I think this method works best with free, expressive line. We also tried pressing textured material into the plate and splotting it with white spirit.

Ink with water soluble wax crayon drawing

Ink with water soluble wax crayon drawing


This was fun, but I rapidly found it quite limited, especially as we were using a single ink colour.

View from a headland over the sea?

View from a headland over the sea?

Next we tried inking a plate and drawing into it. We now had two colours to work with and the results instantly became much richer. We also introduced stencils to preserve some of the first colour. Here I used a glue applicator, cling film and a stencil.

The plate looked great when the stencil was removed so I printed it again.


I dropped my inked stencil on the floor which added lots of texture. I turned it over and printed it on top, but messed up the registration. I quite like the offset. Ann taught us how to pinch the paper, keeping it clipped back with a weighted bulldog clip. We marked the position of our plate with masking tape. You must have a long piece of paper so you can remove your plate with the paper still pinched and you can’t share the press until you have completed your print.


Here I used smaller rollers to apply local colour. The yellow ink was thinner and produced a flatter texture.

We then developed these ideas with textured material, either used as stencils or inked and placed over the plate.


I decided to further explore my Cyclades figures (a motif I keep returning to, as these are some of my favourite exhibits in the BM, one of my favourite haunts). I made stencils of stylised faces.


We were undecided whether this looked more like a bottom than a face! I was disappointed with the blotchy ink and the ill-defined edge of the stencil. I am not sure if this was down to the paper quality, texture or viscosity or thickness of ink. More experimentation!

I continued combining all these techniques.


I like the effect of inking a stencil/material and placing it over the plate, especially when it is a different size. I like the idea of breaking outside the margins of the plate. I think these two work because of that. They have a real ’50s Festival of Britain feel!

A very interesting day. Thank you Ann!

About starrybird

I am mature student studying art with The Open College of the Arts. My passion is printmaking.
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