If you want to learn more about printmaking, one of the easiest way to start is with monoprints. They can be relatively easy to make and they don’t require that much supplies.
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I have already done monorpints with washable felts as you can see in the link above but wanted to experiment with different media, like watercolor pencils. The problem with pencils is that they will slide on the Plexiglas sheets I am using for monoprinting so the first step is to lightly send a piece of plexiglas:
It is easy to do with a handheld sander and contrary to sanding wood, it doesn’t produce much dust 🙂
Once your Plexiglas sheet has been sanded, you can decide to draw free hand or to just place the Plexiglas on top of a picture. For this demo, I used a picture of my daughter printed in black and white on regular paper.
Gather a few watercolor pencils, they have to be well sharpened so you can trace precise lines on the Plexiglas.
Start by cleaning the Plexiglas with soap, don’t rinse and let air dry. This will help with getting a precise transfer on the paper.
Using the picture underneath as a reference, you can start to draw on the side of the Plexiglas that has been sanded.
By varying the pressure on the pencils, you can get different tones of black or color.
With a sharpened watercolor pencil, you can easily draw details like the features on a portrait.
You can use different colors. Here I want to add a pink pattern on the background.
You can erase small mistakes with an eraser, directly on the Plexiglas.
You will probably see some crumbling from the pencils, just blow them away from your Plexiglas sheet.
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Once you are happy with your drawing, just spray water on a piece of paper (mixed media paper will work better than cartridge paper because you will get less buckling)
And use a towel to wipe off the excess moisture. This is a very important step: If your paper is too wet, the picture will be blurry. If your paper is too dry, it won’t pick up the watercolor pencils pigments.
I would recommend you make a few tests on a corner of your Plexiglas to get a feel of how damp your paper need to be. Basically if it is shiny, it is probably too wet.
Apply the wet sheet of paper on top of your drawing.
You can use a brayer to apply pressure on your paper, or a barren or a wooden spoon.
Even though this is technically a monoprint, you might be able to make up to 3 prints with the same design. Let dry.
Once your print had time to dry, you will probably have to make a few adjustments. Just use the watercolor pencils and make the corrections directly on your print.
You can also decide to add more colors. Here I am adding a lighter pink on top of the pink patterns.
The finished prints.