Making a Color Monotype Print – a Printmaking tutorial video

a light field monotype of a plate of sliced green apples with a paring knife resting on the rim of the plate

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Making a Color Monotype

I’ve just published a tutorial video (you can see it below) showing the process to make a full color monotype from a sheet of mylar (also known as drafting film) on your desk – no press required.

I hope the tutorial video inspires you to give monotypes a try. The video demonstration is number four in a series (you can watch them here) on various ways to print a monotype without a press.

making a color monotype with four colors of ink
Four Colors of Ink rolled out and ready for a marathon session to make color monotype prints

I’ve used water-soluble printmaking inks in this one, mixed on another sheet of mylar used as a palette.

The printmaking paper was kozo (mulberry) and there are instructions described in the narration of the video to use watercolor instead of printmaking ink, if you’d like to try that.

Since the saturation in the resulting print was a little light for my tastes, I enhanced the drop shadows, tints and plate colors with colored pencils the next evening to get the result above.

You’ve been asking for Top-Down video shots on my Youtube channel since I got started (as opposed to my usual off-to-the-side angle in previous tutorials). At your service, my dear! 🙂 Thanks to my Patreon subscribers for the help in acquiring the new camera gear!

Printmaking Beginners – Stick With It

In printmaking – like all art forms – you can get very frustrated when your prints don’t turn out the way you wanted. All it takes is the wrong inks, or not enough pressure between plate and paper.  Or maybe your paper has a little too much texture.  With one element off, your color monotype plans can be dashed to the rocks.

I’ve climbed that hill of failed prints, and the next video on my youtube channel will be about just that:  which papers to avoid when printing a color monotype at home without a press.

And when a print falls short of your vision, what should you do with it?

Stay tuned for some of my most epic examples of failure in the art studio.  (You can subscribe to the youtube channel here so you won’t miss any upcoming tutorials.)

a color monotype on kozo paper
The ink has dried, and I see opportunities for increased color saturation and higher contrast in values. Would you have fed this to the shredder, or worked it with other media?
a cat interrupting art-making
An evening wind-down; adding colored pencil to the print the next day, with frequent interruptions for Petting-Pauses. “Hi. Were you working on something here? Pet me instead.”
adding colored pencil to a color monotype
Colored Pencil on a monotype on a lap desk from the couch = sweet way to spend an hour before bed, yes?  ??
a color monotype of apple slices on a plate with a knife
Apple Raft Up 8×10 Monotype with Colored Pencil (available here) (sold)

Printmaking Tutorials on YouTube

The video above is a beginner level tutorial showing you how to make a color-field monotype, with no press.

In the demo, I’m using a sheet of Dura-Lar as a plate, and mulberry paper with water-based printmaking inks. If you don’t have a palette to mix your ink colors, use a second sheet of the Dura-lar.

If you make a monotype, please share a link where we can see it in the comments.

If you have any questions about the process, please leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them quickly! Happy art-making!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post!


P.S. Here is a monotype board I’ve been curating on Pinterest for inspiration. And here is a resource page with more details on making your first monotype.

P.P.S. Did you know you can subscribe to this blog to see each post as soon as it’s published?  Click here to sign up (free).

Link to the playlist of Monotype Tutorials:
Here is my Etsy Shop with prints and watercolors:

Monotype Printmaking Supply List

Check the links below for supplies used in this video so you can experiment with this fun printmaking method too.  (Note: some of the links below are affiliates, which means I’ll get a teeny commission if you make a purchase, though it costs nothing extra to you. Thanks for supporting my studio experiments so I can share them with you here.)

rubber gloves


wood stir sticks for ink mixing

Plexiglass for your table top if you choose to print directly from that surface (larger prints)
12×12 acetate sheets to roll ink out on

newsprint to slide under your printmaking area to protect table surface

Dura-Lar 9×12 pad of 25 sheets

g-tip low-lint cotton swabs

akua ink

Fine Mist Spray Bottle
to moisten your paper if the inks have started to thicken or dry

4 inch soft rubber brayer

rubber tipped wipe-out tools

drawing bridge, so you can rest your hand while painting, without dipping it into the ink

clothes pins for hanging/drying art

Prismacolor Premiere Soft Core Colored Pencils

Brown Handle Synthetic Craft Brush

japanese kozo paper

Non-residue masking tape

*Reference Books*
The Painterly Print

Monotype: Mediums and Methods

Printmaking Bible

Print Workshop

Art Quote

Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost.

Isak Nineson
six tips to paint more often
Need some tips and tricks to get to your art more often? Here’s a free, online mini-class. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Making a Color Monotype Print – a Printmaking tutorial video”

  1. Hey Belinda—I’ve only just discovered you! Your printmaking demos are just what I’ve been looking for to help bring my skills in the medium back up to speed. I’ve been revisiting the joy of learning it in college classes and teaching annual printmaking units in my 30 years as an art teacher. Your teaching style really fits my learning style. Feels like I’ve hit the jackpot finding your videos and I hope to watch every one of them I can find. You’re providing a great service to inquisitive art students. Thank you so much for unselfishly giving of your time and talent to further the art and joy of printmaking!
    —Melina Elum, Port St Joe, FL

  2. Thank you so much for your encouragement and THOROUGH explanations! Paired with the nicely produced video demonstrations, this series on monoprinting has me itching to try some! I am having a problem locating a place that has an intaglio press available, and I can’t buy my own yet – so I am eager to try some of these monoprinting methods.

    1. Hi Mary Liz, Thanks for stopping by to leave feedback. It’s much appreciated. Yes, Monotype prints don’t require a press, and they’re painterly and immediate. I’m editing a monotype video about different papers now, and I’ll post it in the next two weeks after I film & edit some more paper tests. The thing about monotypes to keep in mind is that it’ll take a few tries to get the hang of your particular materials interacting, so PLAY first, before embarking on an ambitious print. Have so much fun!

  3. Thanks’s a terrific video..full to the brim with information. In fact I found the voice over by itself more tricky to follow..I would prefer to see your face as you speak, it makes it easier to understand what you’re saying I think. Of course watching you work is absorbing..but for me personally, it’s the technique and tips I’m after.

    1. Hi Drusilla, That is excellent feedback, and I’m grateful you took time to share it with me. I always assume folks want to see the action on the art table and not my yapping-mug, but I’ll be sure to come in and out of the frame while describing process in the next videos to test for effectiveness in getting the tips distributed! Thank you!

  4. Belinda, this is a beautiful print. Thank you for sharing your process. I’m a printmaker without a press because of a move across the waters. I just bought some aqua inks to try with monotypes. Packed for possible fire evacuation in Northern Calif right now, but can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Lee,
      First, I’m sorry to hear about your pending fire evacuation, and I’m sending earnest wishes for high humidity, low winds and a random rain storm. Second, I’m glad you feel inspired, and I hope everything settles down soon so you can unpack your inks, and get your creative hands and mind submerged in printmaking time. Thanks for taking the time to write. Be safe. 🙂

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