Today was the second of two days in which I had a bit more than 20 minutes to monoprint with the kindergarten class (because I volunteered to facilitate the class auction project via monoprinting). It went much more smoothly today - which I didn't expect. And, I think today's prints turned out amazing. I'll do a more thorough update on the process and prints soon. For now... a bit of a recap...
I recently reviewed a number of books on "printmaking techniques" in preparation for a monoprinting project I was planning to do with a group of 20 kindergarteners. I've monoprinted before, but I wondered if there were other things I could be doing and adding to my own technique that would work with kids and in the classroom setting. I ended up getting really excited about printmaking - especially by the idea of cutting my own lino blocks or even cutting erasers to make custom stamps. The following titles are ones I found most useful, most inspiring, and most comprehensive for the average (maybe at-home) artist.
- Simple Printmaking: A Beginner's Guide to Making Relief Prints with Rubber Stamps, Linoleum Blocks, Wood Blocks, Found Objects by Gwen Diehn
This one, more than any of the others I reviewed, got me really excited about printmaking - and left me really amazed at the wonderful prints shown throughout the book. This title is chock full of amazing examples of various types of printmaking as well as good and interesting pullouts on the history of printmaking as well as famous printmakers throughout art history. The book begins with in-depth discussion and illustration of the process of developing a design (from found objects to doodles to photos to drawings) and then moves on to coverage of the techniques. Techniques includes are: Found Objects, Distressed Block, Negative Carving, Positive Carving, Multiple Block Print, Sawn Block, and Collagraph. At the end of the book is an assemblage of functional and everyday projects you can make using printmaking as the chief medium. Some of them are a birth announcement (and jigsaw puzzle), a book cover, luminaries, lampshades, labels, notecards, and more.
- The Instant Printmaker: Simple Printing Methods to Try at Home (Watson-Guptill Famous Artists) by Melvyn Petterson and Colin Gale
The focus on printmaking techniques that are easy to do and can be done at home and with accessible supplies is only one of the strengths of this book. The step-by-step directions are very well done and well illustrated, and each technique is also accompanied by a gallery of sample prints made by other artists so that you see a good range of application. The authors also cover some (maybe unusual) basic (and kid friendly) processes like foam prints, vegetable prints, and prints made with oven-baked modeling clay. They've got a section on relief printing with erasers (carving your own erasers to make stamps, basically) that is just fabulous and has totally put a bug in my ear about giving this technique a try. One thing I liked about this book is a feeling of innovation - not everything is brayer-dependent. Lots of brushwork is shown, and the section on "Collagragphs: Printing from a Collage" yields a stunning piece of art. A comprehensive title, in addition to the techniques already mentioned, the book covers Linocuts, Woodcuts, Boxwood Engraving, Screenprinting, Drypoint (on various mediums), Etching (various formats), Aquatints, and Lithography.
- The Encyclopedia of Printmaking Techniques by Judy Martin
This book is full of wonderful examples of a wide range of printmaking styles. Each topic covered is accompanied by really good step by step annotation and photographs of what has been added in each step of an often multi-step process. The section on monoprints follows the creation of a really beautiful print. I found the sections on woodcuts and Lino cuts fascinating and really inspiring to watch the prints evolve in the samples. The book also covers Intaglio printing, Lithography, Etching, Drypoint, and Screenprinting. An excellent resource.