Monotype Print in Layered Colors without a Press

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Monotype Print in Layered Colors without a Press

Creating monotype prints in layered colors without a press began as a demo for my group on Mastrius. Now, I can’t stop making them. Isn’t that the way artists’ minds work? Must. Chase. Shiny. Object.

One of many splendids about this form of monotype making is how little space you need to create them. I deliberately kept my ink palette, paper, brayers, wiping cloths, baren, and rubber gloves confined to a portion of my press bed that measures 30″ x 23″. So you can make these on a kitchen table, or even a kitchen counter. Tiny space, no problem!

The first layer of color in mixed greens and yellows, transferred with a wood baren. (This is where I purchased my baren – my favorite out of all the barens I’ve tested.)
Starting to add some muted pinks. I love the way the tooth in this paper (BFK Rives) adds texture to the ink transfer

Easy Printmaking = Happy Artist

Since this method of monotype printmaking uses no press, and there are no sharp tools and no carving required, it’s a lovely entry into printmaking for a beginner.

The inks are applied in a sequence of layers, one after the other. That iterative process allows you to review how and where the art is going before you advance to the next color. Slowing down is always good – regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned artist.

The clear plexiglass or acrylic printmaking plate also allows *tracing* your reference photo. If your drawing skills are still a work in process, you can trace the outline of shapes onto the back of the plate, and just work on learning color and value with this style of monotype print. (But choose a simple image. Avoid cut crystal decanters and maybe opt for a single-color mug in your still life photo shoot.)

Applying inks from light to dark, and from large shapes to smaller shapes in successive layers
Adding a little cool sky blue to increase temperature contrast against all the warm pinks, blacks, and greens.
An hour or so later – the ink is almost dry.
Mixed Ink in plastic jars in sunlight in my studio

More Monotypes to Come

My Mastrius group will be making this style of monotype print on their own this month, with assistance from the recording of the demo I did in our last meeting. I can’t wait to see what they come up with. The last post was a result of that demo monotype print.

If you’re planning to make one too, stay in touch by subscribing to this blog (click here to sign up) so you don’t miss the rest of the art I’ll be posting after this little marathon of monotypes.

If you’d like to start out super simple, with a single color, have a look at the monotype print video demo below.

In the meantime, I hope you’re pulling viable reference photos for your monotype prints, and plotting your layers and mark-making in earnest.

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


P.S. If you’d like to paint color on a plate, rather than rolling it on with a brayer, and wiping around the shapes you want to print, have a look at this demo video to see a full-color light field monotype print applied with brushes.

P.P.S. Huge Thanks to everyone who attended the live panel I did with my friend and fellow Mastrius mentor Lorraine Watry on YouTube for Artists. The conversation was lively, informative, and fun – and your feedback has been lovely. Group hug for all of your enthusiasm and support. Here’s a cookie. 🍪

Solo – Colored Monotype Print – Available in my Etsy Shop here (sold)

Single-Color Monotype Print Demo

Here is a single-color dark field monotype demo from my YouTube Channel. There are lots of them posted, so have a look, and pull out your print supplies to get started. 🙂

Artist Quote

I want to risk hitting my head on the ceiling of my talent. I want to really test it out and say, ‘Okay, you’re not that good. You just reached the level here.’ I don’t ever want to fail, but I want to risk failure every time out of the gate.

Quentin Tarantino

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4 thoughts on “Monotype Print in Layered Colors without a Press”

  1. thank you for all the information and encouragement. Could you post all the inks or paints you like to use?
    I am not too happy with my Akua inks so far, bjut love the black intaglio ink for black field reduction monotypes.

    1. Hi Christa – What don’t you like about the Akua inks? That’s what I’m using for these prints. They are all Akua intaglio: crimson red ( ) ultramarine blue ( ), hansa yellow ( ), oxide green ( ), opaque white ( ), phthalo blue ( ) and intaglio transparent base ( ). And yes, the dark field monotype prints made with either of the Akua black inks are wonderful fun!

  2. Marybeth Piccirelli

    Hi Belinda,
    I love your posts and find them informative and inspiring!
    The link to the information about the wooden barren doesn’t seem to work.
    May you send me the information.
    Thank you!!

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