Gelli Plate Monoprint Drawing Transfer

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Gelli Plate Monoprint Drawing Transfer

Gelli plate monoprint drawing transfer with ballpoint experiments continue in my studio.

I’m finding a very satisfying rhythm in the process. Subtle tweaks like re-applying the ballpoint pen and repeat embossing into the drawing before pulling a second print, and adjusting pressure over the back of the drawing while it’s laid on the wet acrylic make a big difference in the quality of the line transfer.

My first attempt using a gelli plate on this dinner scape scene was a dark green drawing transfer pulled up on bright yellow acrylic.
After the yellow and green transfer in the previous photo, I used a ballpoint pen on the dinner scene drawing a second time – to re-emboss the lines even deeper. The dried, acrylic paint from the first print almost “plasticized” the drawing paper and made the embossing a little more effective.
I used burgundy acrylic for the drawing transfer, and then yellow ochre to lift it off the gelli plate. This print had a lovely double-line from that second pass embossing with the ballpoint pen on the drawing.
The sketchier, double-lined version of the monoprint drawing transfer is on the left, and the acrylic-coated ballpoint pen drawing is on the right.

TIP: The layers of acrylic paint on the gelli plate worked best for me when they were super thin and transparent. I kept an old phone book next to the plate, so as I rolled the acrylic out, I could occasionally run the brayer on a page of the phone book to remove a little paint before continuing to smooth out a sheer layer of acrylic on the gelli plate.

Having a coloring party with a bed-pillow as a lap desk and a cloth roll-holder of colored pencils while traveling last month.
Dinner for Nine Tonight (after the sesame street song) Monoprint with colored pencil – Available in my Etsy Shop here

Gelli Plate Drawing Transfer Posts (so far)

Since this is the third in a series of posts about gelli plate drawing transfer monoprints created with a ballpoint pen and acrylic paint, the previous posts are linked below. Be sure to check them for details, methods, and resources if you’re new around here.

  • Here is the second post on the gelli plate transfer series, describing the same process with different art, and then adding colored pencil to the acrylic after the monoprint dried.
Mixing Acrylic paint to roll onto a gelli plate
  • In the first post of this gelli plate transfer series, I linked to Mark Yeates’ video of the process. His gelli plate demos are excellent, and I found another one this week. Check it out here.
  • I’ve been selling my work on Etsy for years, and there have been many changes to the interface, the seller platform, and the search algorithm. New businesses have emerged to help sellers improve their Etsy experience, and one of them – Marmalead – published this essay for artists trying to sell their work on Etsy.

I’ve got three more ballpoint transfer gelli plate monoprints to share. They’re getting some colored pencil love this week, so stay tuned for more of these experiments from the studio. (Subscribe here.)

And be sure to leave a comment to let me know if you’ve tried this method and leave links where we can see the fruits of your labor.

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


P.S. In response to a flurry of emails asking what brand of acrylics I’m using on these gelli prints, this is the acrylic set I bought on Amazon.


Art Quote

More than in any other vocation, being an artist means always starting from nothing. Our work as artists is courageous and scary. There is no brief that comes along with it, no problem solving that’s given as a task… An artist’s work is almost entirely inquiry based and self-regulated. It is a fragile process of teaching oneself to work alone, and focusing on how to hone your quirky creative obsessions so that they eventually become so oddly specific that they can only be your own.

Teresita Fernández

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3 thoughts on “Gelli Plate Monoprint Drawing Transfer”

  1. After several missteps and more than a few flops, I think (after re-reading the blog for the umpteenth time), that the key word is TRANSPARENT layer of acrylic paint. Will play more tomorrow. Still intrigued by the process.

  2. Hello, the images you show of each stage and your tips for enhancing the transfer are very useful. I think you would enjoy image transfer of an image drawn with charcoal or pastel pencils. charcoal pencils and woodless charcoal pencils (soft and medium) work well and the process is easy (see Yeats’s Makes and Gell with Mark in you tube for example). The secret is to keep the point sharp.
    Thanks for your blogs.


    Bob P.

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