Monotype: Between Friends – and a video tutorial on Trace Monotype

Trace Monotype

In the last post, I mentionedI was working on a new printmaking demo video of a trace monotype.  It’s published now, and I hope you find the method inspiring enough to try. After the printmaking ink was dry – you’ll see a sequence where I added layers of watercolor and pastel to the print.  My hope is that by demonstrating added layers of color,  you’ll be inspired to make one too.

colored pencil work in progress on a dark field monotype ghost print
Adding colored pencil to another monotype – this one is called a dark field monotype ghost print. Fun, right? 🙂
Pulling the print at the top of this post off ink that was rolled out on my studio table

Even if You Can’t Draw

Trace monotype is a great printmaking process, because this particular flavor (it varies) doesn’t require a press, or lots of tools (there is no carving whatsoever), and you can do it in your kitchen, or in a classroom.  If you can’t even draw a stick figure, this is a very accessible printmaking method!   The line work is traced, so you can “draw” your dog by tracing from a printed cell phone snap shot, or you can create a mash up of different elements – like I did in the image above.  (I traced from a photo of a bathroom window, and then overlaid another photo of friends at a dinner gathering to create a new, imagined event, in a pretend room. ) #howtohavefun  The video tutorial is linked below.

Reviewing my line work, to decide if I’m ready to start painting

Printmaking Resources

If you decide to give this process a go (oh, do it, do it, do it!), I’ve listed supplies and links below. And there are links sprinkled throughout this post for books that might be helpful, as well as other posts on the subject. The video associated with this post is one of three trace monotype tutorials on my youtube channel to get you started. You can leave questions in the comments under each video window on youtube, or leave them here on this post (below). Mostly, I hope you give it a go, and just have fun!

Adding some watercolor before moving onto pastels

Using pastels to finish the print

If you don’t see the video window above, you can watch it directly on youtube here.  All the supplies are listed below with links to learn more about them and source the materials online.

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


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Monotypes Resources


Here is the Playlist of Monotype tutorials on my channel.

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Printmaking Supplies

rubber gloves


Plexiglass for your table top -or- 12×12 acetate sheets to roll ink out on

akua ink

4 inch soft rubber brayer

rubber tipped wipe-out tools

newsprint for test prints

Arches cover paper (textured surface, great for both dry & wet media)

Arches 88 paper (very smooth surface – not recommended for wet media, but great for colored pencil or pastel)

blending stomps

Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Prismacolor blending pencil & sharpener

Watercolor set

Art Eraser

Art Masking Tape

Drawing Bridge

Drawing Board

*Reference Books*

The Painterly Print

Monotype: Mediums and Methods

Printmaking Bible

Print Workshop

If you have any questions about the process, please leave them in the comment section below, and I’ll do my best to answer them quickly!

Happy art-making!

Art Quote

As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Check out this online video course that will take the blink and stare out of your art-naming process.

8 thoughts on “Monotype: Between Friends – and a video tutorial on Trace Monotype”

  1. Pingback: Trace Monotype: All in Green (& videos on how to make a trace monotype) - Belinda Del Pesco

  2. Thank you for sharing your methods online. I tried a variation of the trace monotype and thought you might like to see. I posted it on my blog at . I inked up a flexible plastic membrane plate and drew on the back of the plate to transfer the ink to a piece of watercolor paper. I like this method. It allows me to work directly without working in reverse, I can work onto heavy paper, and it doesn’t require a press.

    1. Hi Jim, Yes, I love seeing what other printmakers are doing in the studio, so thanks for sharing! I just visited and left you a comment. Good job and keep going! 🙂 ??

  3. Pingback: Trace Monotype: Omikuji (& #linklove to French General) - Belinda Del Pesco

  4. Wonderful! I am printmaking student..cant wait to find the time to try your technique with my botanical prints..looks like a great way to relax..thanks for sharing

  5. Pingback: Trace Monotype: All in Green (& LinkLove videos on printmaking) - Belinda Del Pesco

Write something.... pretend we're neighbors, and we’re painting watercolors together in the garden....