View Full Version : Trouble with monotype inks

11-17-2003, 04:18 PM
Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum but not new to printmaking... although it's been a while. I was a printmaking major for my BFA (1985) and then didn't get back to it, worked in mixed media after that. Most of my experience is with intaglio.

I recently bought a little press for my house and a good selection of Createx monotype inks. I have made (quite a while ago) monotypes with oil based inks and didn't have the problems I'm having with my zinc plates not releasing ink. I've used the base coat, I've added dish soap, I've dried the plates completely, I've soaked my Arches Cover sufficiently and blotted...and still there are small areas of the plates that just don't transfer. I'm getting a tad FRUSTRATED! I've adjusted the pressure on the press; passed my plates several times. You name it (I think) I've done it!

I probably shouldn't get too deep about this but as an art teacher, I wasn't crazy about other Createx products. I had trouble finding other waterbased inks. Actually, I bought the Createx and then found Akua waterbased inks which seem interesting.

I'm looking for suggestions. Anyone prefer one ink over another? I want to stay waterbased. I'll be living in Europe over the summer and will be taking the press and my stuff. I really don't want to get involved with solvents here or over there.

The prints I have, although spotty in some areas, I will use with hand coloring so all is not lost but I'd prefer to get good transfers one of these days. What do you all use to clean the plates? Some of this ink just won't let go of the plates. Spots again.

Thanks for any suggestions. Dorie

Diane Cutter
11-17-2003, 06:17 PM

I would dump the Createx (I hate them) and jump in totally with Akua-Kolors. They are easy to work with, mix up beautiful colors (beyond the wonderful range sold), and can be used for either very watery, painterly, watercolor type monotypes or solid color reliefs without having to buy different inks.

The best part is you can use dry paper. No need to soak anything. And although I have a press, I prefer to hand rub.

I use either plexiglass or lino. Haven't tried the ball-grained lithoplates yet, nor have I tried it on zinc plates.

I do a lot of relief prints using Akua-Kolor's Tack Thickener with the colors. You can get a really nice consistency when rolling out the ink. You can hear that great, crisp, crinkle sound after adding just a couple of drops.

You might want to check out their website for more instructions on how to use: http://www.waterbasedinks.com/.

Good luck,

Alan Cross
11-24-2003, 01:00 AM
Dorie I don't have any more advice for you but I would just like to welcome you to the forum....and also to Wet Canvas...
Alan :)

11-25-2003, 06:14 AM
What about cleaning plates well? I've been using zinc plates and having a hard time getting them clean.

Diane Cutter
11-25-2003, 07:10 AM

Since most of the time I use water-based inks, soap and water work just fine.

But when I use my old zinc plates with oil-based inks, my solution is vegetable oil and soap and water. I keep some old (sometimes used) vegetable oil in a plastic squirt bottle. I squirt some on the plate, spread it around to make a nice slurry of oil and ink. Then I mop up as much as I can with paper towels or rags. Next I use Dawn dishwashing soap to clean up the rest. If I have any resistant inked areas I use a really soft baby toothbrush to gently release that ink.

I came up with this because I was having health problems with the turp, etc. I was using to clean up. Plus it doesn't have that awful smell.


12-09-2003, 04:01 PM
Hi Dorie, and welcome to WC! You have received some great advice here, and the cleaning technique that Diane uses is the same one I use. You can't beat it for oil based inks. Working with water soluble inks can be frustrating if you are using the wrong inks. I would dump the Createx too. Sometimes I use my water soluble relief inks with monotypes, but watercolor is my favorite medium to use. I just like the painterly feel I get from them. I use a plexi plate, finely sanded with 600 grit emory paper that allows the watercolor to stay in place. I can also hold it up to the light to see what kind of coverage I am getting. Zinc is such a difficuly plate to work with. Once I discovered copper I got rid of all my zinc. You can use the copper to paint on also for monoprints.