How to Make a Monotype: Tutorial #4 – Color Print without a press

How to Make a Monotype: Tutorial #4 – Color Print without a press

Hi there and welcome back to my studio if we haven’t met yet, I’m Belinda good to meet you today I want to talk about monotype printmaking. This will be the fourth in a series of monotype tutorials to show you how to make this versatile painterly printmaking method this video is A breakdown of a full-color monotype very painterly painted directly on a sheet of Mylar Or Duralar, as the brand name is called by hand No press is necessary to get the resulting full color print. I didn’t get the level of saturation that I was looking for in the print Mostly because I wasn’t printing on a press I was transferring by hand Which is what you’ll do if you don’t have a press, but I have a solution for you so watch all the way to the end, and I’ll give you some tips on how to take it from not quite right to just perfect! This is Dura-lar or polyester film. We’re going to use this as a printmaking plate. We need masking tape and a brayer (that one is optional) Definitely need some brushes and this is a sculpting tool which has a rubber tip and that is a wooden baren. You can also use a spoon instead. And then some rubber gloves and Some printmaking paper. Tape a single sheet of dura-lar down on a flat surface like a table Only the top and the bottom get taped- you want to leave the sides open. This is kozo or a mulberry printmaking paper. It has a smooth and a rough side You can choose either one Align your printmaking paper with the dura-lar sheet with your preferred printing surface facing down and make a little hinge with removable masking tape Your reference material will be slid underneath the translucent dura-lar You can use everything from rough sketches to a photograph and You’ll want to secure them to the table so that they don’t wiggle around underneath the dura-lar You can use any media that stays wet Use oil paints either the water miserable style or the traditional I’m using water-soluble printmaking ink that doesn’t dry until it touches paper. You can see that it doesn’t absorb into the Dura-lar – it stays on the surface -. which allows me to wipe it away with a wet paper towel if I want to erase a passage. Use your sketch underneath the Dura-Lar like a roadmap and lay in blocks of wet pigment You can apply your pigments loosely because you have lots of options for editing You can use paint brushes to scumble soft edges. You can use a palette knife to apply Bolder passages of color. A paper towel wrapped around a gloved finger and tapped into the pigments will lighten passages or you can use q-tips Or rags to wipe things away completely to get right back down to white and start over. If you’d like to try this with watercolor, brush a thin layer of liquid Dishwashing soap onto the mylar and let it dry overnight The thin film of dish soap gives the watercolor something to grab otherwise it repels and beads on the surface of the Dura-Lar The ink that I’m using in this clip is thick enough that it adheres to the Dura-Lar very well And it also leaves some nice brush marks. If you’d like a complete supply list that’s printable, I’ve put one on my blog. If you go to and search the blog for the title of this piece – which is ‘Apple Raft Up’ you’ll see this video as well as some still shots of the process and a downloadable Supply list. And since you asked I will also put a list of the supplies on the post related to this piece on the blog that’s clickable so that you can get to the links on Amazon and take a look at the supplies that I’m using directly Earlier in the video I mentioned having several Reference pieces ready to go and that is because once you have your ink out and you’ve got your Dura-Lar taped down Moving with color over the surface of the Dura-Lar to make the print happens pretty quickly, and when you’re finished you could wipe the plate, redraw something new – with new ink – and print again since you’ve got everything out that is what I would recommend that you do. Make three or four reference photos or Reference drawings before you begin printing so that you have an opportunity to print a second third or fourth Monotype from this one session and as well If you find that the first piece that you’re painting isn’t gonna fly and it’s just not satisfying Wipe the plate clean pull your sketch out from underneath The Dura-Lar pick a second image that you’ve prepared in advance, and slide that underneath to start again This is such a versatile printmaking method. Monotypes are painterly, they can be in color or black and white You have a ton of options and if it’s not working for you, you just wipe the plate clean and start over So don’t let yourself get frustrated. If you feel that happening. Stop, wipe it down and start over There are no right or wrong ways to make a monotype like this Begin these prints with permission to experiment because if you don’t like what you did, you can wipe it off Here I am putting a dark background over what I thought would be a patterned background and As you will see here in a minute I decide that this is too dark a color and I’m going to take it out completely with a little bit of water on my brush and Tapping in with paper towel in order to show this to you from above I was painting it while looking at it upside down. When I saw it on the screen on my camera right-side up I knew I needed to change it. So use your camera take pictures and look at the thumbnails to check your work One of the great benefits of working with pigments that stay wet until they’re on and paper is that you have lots of time to test different colors, and correct your shapes as you go with a wet brush I’m diluting the ink a little bit so that it will lift easier and then with a paper towel I’m just gonna tap the ink out and get it off The Dura-Lar . Now, I’m ready for a nice warm burnt orange in place of that Brown which brightens up that part of a composition considerably Making monotypes like this is a great introduction to printmaking if you teach in a classroom setting Dura-Lar can be taped down at each student’s desk or you can make printmaking stations with a lineup of Dura-Lar taped down at long banquet tables. When students are first starting with this, I would suggest keeping the shapes that they’re painting relatively simple Nothing too complex. Facial stuff like self portraits would work – close-up portraits of family pets, maybe a single flower But nothing too frilly or lacey, so they can focus ob getting the shapes right and then playing with color and the way that it handles and how to manipulate it on Mylar If you’re working on this with watercolor do some experiments first and keep a spray bottle handy so that just before the Printing is taking place If some of the watercolor has dried on the mylar you can spritz it with a fine mist Before you lay the paper over and pull your print. The mulberry paper that I used in this video has no sizing in it So the pigment and the water goes right through the paper to the back so you’ll see that I use paper towels to absorb that but keep that in mind when you are applying color to the plate. If it’s too heavy (your wet paint or ink), you may get some bleed through on the back of the paper I’m using a spoon here in case you don’t have a baren handy so that you can see that it works quite well Just a regular teaspoon or a tablespoon a metal one works better than a wood spoon because you can get very specific About where you’re applying your pressure and notice that I am doing all the pressure on the paper towel Which gives me a slippery surface without marring the printmaking paper, which is now wet since it’s had contact with the ink Be very thorough with all of your rubbing to transfer the details and all the colors that are on the image Onto the paper If you have access to a press I’d highly recommend printing this on a press but without a press a spoon works just fine Now I’ve switched to a wooden baren again a fresh piece of Paper towel so that I’m not marring the back of the printmaking paper The mulberry paper is pretty transparent once it’s wet like this I can pretty much see how much of the print has transferred to the paper I’ll zoom the camera out a little bit here so that you can see the plate and the print side by side. I didn’t get the level of saturation that I was looking for But I have enough of a suggestion to work as a beautiful under painting for adding colored pencil I hope you do that too when you think a print might have failed Consider adding other media before you toss your print – and get a second opinion – that always helps too We’re going to talk about the different printmaking papers that you could choose from to do a monotype And if you’re making one without a press it’s crucial that you have a smooth surface Otherwise as you’ll see in the video you can have failure after failure after failure. I had that – and I’m going to share it with you. We’re keeping it real. Get your art supplies ready! There’ll be a list of all of everything you need on my blog – visit so that you can see a Printable list or a clickable list. If after watching this you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below For feedback so I know how this was received I would totally appreciate a thumbs up! Thanks! If you’re planning on making some of these Monotypes and there’s a place where we can see what you’ve done on a blog or social media please include a link in your comment below the video window so we can all take a look and see what you made! If you’re interested in more tutorials and classes from my art studio be sure to visit where I share tips and tricks related to Painting more often, how to title your art and things like that!

22 thoughts on “How to Make a Monotype: Tutorial #4 – Color Print without a press

  1. I love it! I will try TODAY! Thank you, Belinda!

    Carmen Kirschner

  2. Your videos are so informative and your art beautiful. It’s refreshing to get so much helpful and specific advice in so little time. You deserve some recognition. Thank you very much!

  3. Fantastic methodology and technique tips. Brava!

  4. Great techniques Belinda! I have many failed prints lying around my studio that I don't have the heart to toss out so the colour pencil idea, complete with wine and furry admirer, gives me hope to try and save them. TFS

  5. That hinge solution is brilliant!

  6. Hi Belinda: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us! I have been considering buying a Pin Press. Do you have experience with these hand held presses? Would this type of press work well with this method? Thanks so much. Cathy

  7. Great video . Very helpful .. thank you

  8. You are such a great artist and teacher, Belinda. I really appreciate your videos! Thank you so much!

  9. terrific!

  10. Never stops to amaze me this beautiful demo, dear Belinda! I hope everything is going good to you and your family after the fires in CA.
    Happy Thanksgiving.


  11. I think youre my soul sister 🍀

  12. This is great! So much more interesting and challenging than the typical "abstract color shapes and textures" mono printing done so often with gel plates. I think these have their own beauty, but I'm seeing so much of the same look, same colors. Thanks! Ill watch your other vids too!

  13. Hi Belinda…did you use water or Akua retarded with the Akua inks? I learn so much from You!

  14. Retarder! apologies, this netbook has a mind of its own.

  15. Question: some media, like acrylic paint, dry very fast. Do you spray water to keep the paint moist or do you use extenders? Thanks!

  16. I love your videos. I teach middle school and high school art, and personally, I love printmaking. So I am thrilled to find this video and recommend them to fellow teachers.

  17. She’s knows what’s up !

  18. this video inspired me to make my own monotypes at home after i found i really enjoyed it in a printmaking class. thank you for your videos! they are all so helpful and you make such wonderful art <3

  19. Hi Belinda thank you for a fantastic video. I have just bought the inks you are using and just wondered if you are using the blending medium or water to dilute your inks? Also would this method work using black ink only, with enough contrast for landscape and figures? I am doing a big project with many prints and gave had so many failures! Thank you for your help

  20. You are fantastic. Clear and concise. Voice and volume is perfect. So much in so little time. Just clean beautiful work. Thank you. What a chance for Mindfulness.

  21. Love your monotype videos! Have a question though–at the end of #4 you reference "the next video" in which you discuss which papers to use for best results–but I cannot find that video. Can you direct me to where it is, and/or what it's title is? Thanks!

  22. This is amazing- so simple yet awesome. Thank you so much for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *