dark field monotype ghost print with watercolor and colored pencil of a bed and pillows with rumpled sheets

Save for later & Share!

Monotype Ghost Prints

If you’re new here, and unfamiliar with monotypes as a printmaking method, take a look at this post to see process shots.  Monotypes are very painterly prints, made with pigment alone (no incised lines on the plate) and they can be made in a huge variety of ways, with no press, and all sorts of media. Here is a six tutorial video playlist of monotype demonstrations for your perusal. You can also join this monotype group on Facebook to harvest examples, tips and encouragement.

This is the monotype ghost print before I enhanced contrast and values with watercolor and colored pencil

Making Art from your Life

The art at the top of this post started as a ghost print (see above) from an earlier monotype.  I took the reference photo in the early 80’s, in New England on a chilly, winter day.  Getting out of a warm bed on a cold morning is never fun, and I probably took the photo thinking I’d practice drawing folds in the sheets while remembering how warm and comfy I was in that bed. The photo has been a reference for drawings, watercolors and printmaking projects. (HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY) ?

Adding Media to a Monotype Ghost Print

Ghost prints often have such a thin veil of ink that you can still “get to” the paper with your other media like watercolor and colored pencil. They work as a perfect underpainting to enhance with art supplies of your choice. Here is an example with only colored pencil, and here is a ghost print with primarily watercolor on the finished art.

Printmaking tools on a magnet bar in my studio closet

Inspiring Links for You

  • Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom have a blog and a podcast called Pinch of Yum. They’ve built an amazing business in the food blog space, and I follow their recipes and their blogging business advice. They introduced me to this formula: 1 % ∞ [one percent infinity] The 1% represents miniscule advances aimed at your goals. Teeny, tiny steps that improve your skill, increase your output, advance your position towards a bigger goal. Beyond your day to day To-Do’s. The infinity refers to doing that 1% each and every day forever and ever. Big plans and lofty goals that feel overwhelming stay fermenting in our heads for years, but if we make tiny outward moves towards them – just one per day – we build momentum, finish paintings, write books, open Etsy shops, etc. Put that formula on a postit where you can see it, and begin.
  • One of the best video ads about the invisible possibilities in community I’ve ever seen. Watch it here.
  • The Cambridge Gallery over in the UK does a great job of explaining different printmaking techniques, with visual examples, and links to artists working in each of the methods they’ve defined. Check that out here.
dark field monotype
Roller Coaster Buddies, Monotype with watercolor (sold)

Re-Work Failed Prints

If you’ve experimented with monotype printmaking, and felt less than satisfied with your results, pull your old prints out, and play with other media on them. Add watercolor, colored pencil, oil pastel or any media that will work on paper, and over printmaking ink. You’ll be able to visualize the original goal you might have missed while you re-inflate your target. And you’ll be bringing the maturity you’ve cultivated since the day you made the original print all the way over to today, to sprinkle that goodness into a repair job. Go on now, have a little fun with your art supplies. Shake off the critic, and get some playtime in.

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


P.S If you’re new here, you’re invited to subscribe to this blog to get each new post via email. Sign up here.

P.P.S. If you’ve never scanned a piece of your art, this video by illustrator Kendyll Hillegas might help you get started. She’s moving quick, because she’s accustomed to scanning, but don’t forget that you can back up the video, and re-watch bits you missed. The software she mentions is $40 here.

P.P.P.S. If you missed this week’s Live Broadcast from the amazmo online marketing business folks I recommended – you can still peruse the details for one more week. This clip has instagram tips. And as always, if you have any questions about the course I took with them, feel free to leave a comment here, or email me directly. It’s all very, very good. ??

Adding watercolor and colored pencil to a monotype ghost print

Art Quote

A book can be a portal. Each one I’ve written firmly sealed off one nautaline chamber, [is nautaline a word? meaning, pertaining to a nautilus] and then opened, into the next habitable space. Always before, my subjects chose me. I’m the happy follower of fleeting images that race ahead – sometimes just out of sight of lines that u-turn and brake like the downside of heartbeats.

Frances Mayes – Women in Sunlight
Climb Back In 4×6 Monotype Ghost Print with watercolor and Colored Pencil (available here)

Save for later & Share!

7 thoughts on “Monotype: Climb Back In”

  1. Sharara Crichton

    I was so despondent when my prints were not as I had hoped and expected but now I cant wait to get going with using other media as you’ve highlighted in Re-Work Failed Prints! Thank you.


    1. Oh Shar, I’m *so glad* your’re excited about taking them to another level with other media! It’s so much fun! And it’s freeing too; when we already consider a print to be a failure, there’s only one direction to go, and that’s Up! Have fun, my friend!

  2. Love this. Wonderful. I like the idea and the reality of being new all the time. When I read the last piece
    I was holding a small white bowl of plain Greek yogurt, and my husband’s delicious sugar free canned peaches from last summer. Yum. You stopped me in my tracks, and here we were sharing a snack together. This was a weekend of firsts, and I look forward to many more.


    1. Hi you, the bowl in your hands, and it’s contents sound like a painting near a sunny window. I can certainly picture it, and I can almost taste it too! Happy Spring, my friend!

  3. Kathleen Roberts

    Dear Belinda,

    Wonderful! Thank you!

    An image we all see, but which we don’t pay much attention to, but are beautiful; poetic, even! You’ve captured the beauty of “everyday” images!


    1. Hi Kathleen, Thanks for the compliments, and I hope the next time the light is just right as you climb from a warm bed, you’ll be inclined to snap a photo for a drawing or painting session later! It’s all around us, isn’t it? Have a great week.

Leave a Comment

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