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Using Other Media on Your Monotypes

This monotype ghost print looked a little dubious all by itself (see below), but it had potential. The mark-making still visible in the thin veil of ink was interesting, but the tonal variations were too close together, and it needed more contrast to read as two embracing figures. Other Art Supplies to the rescue!

monotype ghost print by belinda del pesco
This monotype ghost print, before I added color with wet and dry media. Do you paint your ghost prints too?

If You’re New to Printmaking

If you’re unfamiliar with monotype printmaking, or what a ghost print is, here is a playlist of tutorial and demonstration videos you can peek at to see the process in my studio. If you want to make one, there’s a list of supplies underneath each video in the Show More link on my YouTube channel. If you’re all together new to printmaking, here is a video by the Khan Academy that gives a very brief overview of the four basic printmaking methods. Keep in mind that within those four methods, there are amazingly wide and adventurous variations on each approach that have lead to hundreds of books dedicated to the possibilities within each form of printmaking. The art of printmaking is an extraordinarily creative process, with a lot of room for creative experimentation and meandering.

monotype-ghost print colored with other media by belinda del Pesco
Picnic Nap 8×6 Monotype Ghost with Watercolor & Colored Pencil (Available in my Etsy Shop)
Woodcut by Nick Wroblewski
Woodcut by Nick Wroblewski – on Instagram as WoodcutNick
collagraph print by jennifer o'young
Collagraph by Jennifer O’Young – on Instagram as joyoungprintmaking
collagraph print by marian haf
Collagraph by Marian Haf, on instagram as marianhaf
gelli print monotype by byrony wingfield digby
12 gelli plate monotype assembly by Bryony Wingfield Digby on instagram as @bryony_wingfield_digby_art
linocut by Sue Welfare
Linocut by Sue Welfare, on Instagram as @sue-welfare

Adding Other Media to Your Prints

Using other media on your prints to add color, or repair less-than-stellar results is an excellent workaround, and it’s also full of lessons. You see what the print needed (or vice versa) as you adjust values, fill in areas left blank, or lighten areas that would have shown a bit better if they’d been cut away. Before you begin an adventure to alter your print, be sure to know what you’re about to add media to. Does the ink re-wet when you add wet media? Will your paper ripple badly after being moistened with a wet brush? And does the paper have sizing, so your watercolor won’t bleed in all directions like you painted on a paper towel?

Check your ink and paper label details, or search for those answers online before you begin. If you know your ink will re-wet, and you’ve used unsized paper, it’s best to stick with dry media like colored pencil or pastel on your print.

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


P.S. Thanks to everyone who notified me that the first delivery of this post was broken. I really appreciate that you’re watching out for me. XO

P.P.S. On the subject of supplies, it’s important that your studio wipes don’t shed lint particles because it sticks to your brayers and ink surfaces during clean up. The only paper towels I use in my studio are “select-a-size” Bounty because they don’t shed. I learned this from a Master Printmaker, and it’s one of those little gems I’m grateful for.I hope it’s helpful to you too!

How to paint more often
Click a monkey to get some encouragement to return to your art supplies….

Art Quote

Mrs. Sargent (John Singer Sargent’s mother) dragged the children from church to museum, from palace to garden, and back again; she looked, she pointed, she stared, she talked, she sketched. It was perpetual motion, and it was a manifestation of boundless curiosity.

Stanley Olman

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6 thoughts on “5 Printmakers to follow on Instagram, Vol. 2, and a Monotype”

  1. Love this post, and the quote. Beautiful work. I met someone at an art opening yesterday who asked me who Sargent was. I was a bit shocked, but eventually the person remembered. Love his work too.
    XOXOXOXOXO Barbara

  2. Hi Belinda, I was wondering ……with your reduction prints without a press do you use Reeves BFK paper? I’m experimenting at home and of course I do not have a press which is a bummer. Maybe one day I will have one. In the meantime I want to explore printmaking further.

    1. Hi Gabriele! For hand burnishing prints, the *weight* of the paper and it’s “flexibility” and surface texture are things to consider. Look for smooth paper (not a lot of tooth or texture), that’s flexible and medium to lightweight. Heavy paper is great on a press, but requires a lot of muscle to push into fine details by hand on a plate. BFK Rives lightweight (like this: is nice, as is Arches Cover, Somerset, Arches 88 and Arnhem 1618. Each manufacturer makes different weights, so explore your options and lean towards the lighter papers. Good luck with your experiments!

  3. @Sonia, I am so familiar with this challenge of fast-drying, bleeding water-based pigments, and I’m happy to report that Akua does NOT dry on the plate, or bleed when re-wet. I can leave the ink out on my table overnight and continue printing the next day. It dries quickly when applied to paper (as long as there isn’t a barrier layer so the ink can absorb <--this is crucial to akua drying time) and the ink doesn't bleed when you add wet pigments or media to it. 🙂

  4. Enjoying your videos Belinda. I notice you use Akua inks for your linocuts, which I believe are water soluble, but you use watercolour over the top of your prints after they are dry. I have tried this with Daler-Rowney water-soluble block printing colour, but find the print bleeds, as a consequence I have resorted to acrylic inks, but the working time is limited. I would appreciate your comments. Thanks, Sonia

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