Samples 3 – Solvents

by maggie

Subtractive Monotypes are made by removing the ink from a relief plate selectively after the plate has been uniformly inked.

Adding solvent to the plate thins the ink which can be easily removed. Then the plate is printed with speckle circular white areas. I’ve done this type of printing before, and what I would really like to achieve is a plate that can reproduce a pattern repeatedly.january-9

This image shows the negative area where the ink was removed with solvent. The linear marks are made by irregularities in the paper used mop up the thinned ink.

You have to lie the paper down on the wet plate very delicately so nothing is smudged. First of a very absorbent paper is used then a thin strong paper that can be pressed more firmly.


Here most of the pools of thinned ink have already been removed, but with firmer pressure the edges of the pools can be printed. It leaves the greater area of undisturbed ink that can be printed in the press.

All these monotypes have been printed on thin paper which can be trimmed to be used as chiné colle with other plates.

So I have plans to work on some test zinc plates to see if I can reproduce these style of images.


Edit 19th feb. Here are those test plates. Not quite what I was hoping, but plenty to work with.


Left plate 2. Right plate 1. Hard ground, unsmoked resolved with solvent. Plate size 10 x 7.5 cm


Left plate 4. right plate 3. Sprayed straw hat varnish under box aquatint. Second attempt. previously straw hat speed more, may have had cleaner plate. plate size 10 x 7.5


Top: plate 1, used a dropped to apply solvent to hard ground. Bottom: plate 3 using straw hat as a resist under aquatint.


Top: straw hat varnish sprayed on to surface, box aquatint added. Bottom: solvent was sprayed on to a thick hard ground and then blotted away. Area of bite much smaller than apparent cleared area within ground, was also hoping for an open bite, but 20:1 acid only pitted plate at theses timings.


Top: plate 2 reused for sugar lift. timings step up at 4min intervals in 12:1 from right. Bottom: plate 1 reused with another hard ground. Multiple applications of solvents and blotting with a soft cloth. 5min20sec in 12:1