Make a Trace Monotype Print without a Press

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Making a Trace Monotype without a Press

Yesterday, I printed a small collagraph edition with a taupe gray mixed with Akua intaglio inks. I had a dollop of ink left (see first photo below), and that inspired an urge to make a trace monotype. (Also known as a Drawing Transfer Monotype.)

My work table is covered with a sheet of plexiglass, so I rolled the leftover ink out with a brayer. The process shots below (hopefully) explain the sequence for this type of print. You’re welcome to peruse a playlist of video tutorials on trace monotypes here.

Small amount of ink left after printing an edition
Rolling the ink out on a plexiglass surface with a brayer
Scrap paper from tearing printmaking sheets to size
Covering edges of the ink for a cleaner frame
Taping the “frame” of scrap paper to the desk
Laying a thin (but sturdy) sheet of kozo printmaking paper on the wet ink
Drawing an adolescnet boy in pencil. The pressure of the lines as I draw will push the paper into the wet ink.
Using a spoon to rub segments of the paper into the ink for contrast around the figure.
Pulling the print off the inked plexiglass. All sorts of fun textures….
The print on the left, and the ink on the right. Now, the paper frame can be flipped up on a taped hinge, and the ink can be smoothed out with a brayer to make another monotype on the spot.
Burgeoning Boy 8.25×6.75 Trace Monotype with watercolor washes
on Thai Kozo paper   –   Available in my Etsy Shop


Trace Monotype Instruction

If you’ve made trace monotypes, or you know of a good resource for learning how to make them, please share links in the comments. It’s such an easy form of printmaking, and it doesn’t use a press, so you can make these at the kitchen table. No art studio requuired.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post!


P.S. If you’d like to see an example of early trace monotype by the artist Paul Gauguin, visit this page on the British Museum site.

trace monotype of a man playing a banjo
Adding watercolor to a trace monotype

Art Quote

In the art of literature there are two contending parties. Those who aim to tell stories that are more or less well thought out, and those who aim at beautiful language, beauty of form. This contest may last a very long time; each side has a fifty-fifty chance. Only the poet can rightfully demand that verse be beautiful and nothing but.

Paul Gauguin 1848-1903

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