Monotype – my own tests

As far as I can see there are no limits when it comes to making monotypes.  You can use oils, acrylics, water-soluble oils, soft pastels, oil pastels, encaustic wax paints, watercolour, inks, even light!  

Some of the ways images can be made include:  

  • Paint applied directly to the printing glass with a brush and then pulling a print of that.  The image that can be printed could be a photocopy, photo or magazine image placed beneath the printing glass, so that it’s easier to paint up the subject – this is the first method we are taught in the instructions.   Most of my tests of ‘birdies’ were made using this technique.
  • Manipulating a print by adding marks, collage and layering of the prints – similar to how Rebecca Vincent works (see video below).
  • Covering the plate completely in ink or paint and then drawing into it, or rubbing off medium (reductive process), which will be covered in a future exercise.  (see Patti Brady’s video below, showing this process using a gelli plate and Golden Open Acrylics)
  • Plates can be glass, Plexiglass, gel, plastic bags, fabric, metal, even raw clay. 
  • Using stencils, which can be made from anything, even organic material like ferns.  Mark-making equipment can include rocks/pebbles, sticks, metal pottery implements, cotton buds … basically whatever you have that makes a mark.   
  • Printing photos with a laser printer and then transferring those images using a gelli plate is another way of creating really exciting monoprints (see below example from Nitsa Maliek’s channel on YouTube, who I’ve been following for a long time).   She also prints onto tissue paper, which is one of the next processes I want to try out.  She then uses the resulting tissue print in collage work.
  • Creating monotypes with encaustic paint is a different process.  I used my hot plate and drew the image onto the plate, then pulled off a print from that.   There are many other techniques to create monotypes using encaustic wax paint  (see below link to Paula Roland demonstration)

In my tests I have used oil paints, acrylics, water-soluble oils, water-colours and encaustic wax paints.   For all my printing tests I used a small A5 piece of glass (except where I was working with encaustics).  

The first time I published this post, it whacked out the tests! Here there are – I have not included all results, as I did over 50 prints:

For the below test, I painted the Georgian oil paint onto the glass and then used the reductive technique to try and eke out a composition – but it didn’t work properly. I’ve included it here, as it was part of my tests and I want to revisit this later with inks and the correct paper.

Encaustic tests:

I applied the wax paint directly to the surface of the heated plate – drawing with the end of the wax block and then placed the paper on top, sometimes I got a lovely ghost. I also did a ‘portrait’.

I watched a demonstration of monotypes using watercolour, where the paint is left to dry and then very wet paper is used to pull the print. I didn’t think that this would work. I tried three types of paper: Daler-Rowney Aquafine 300gsm 140lb cold pressed; Daler-Rowney Finegrain Heavyweight 200gsm 120lb and straight forward plain old photocopier paper. In all cases I wet the paper in the sink first, then blotted it off. I was so surprised that the best print seemed to come with the photocopier paper.

Three prints using watercolours – photocopier print is on far right.

Equipment and materials – on order.

There are a few things that I am in the process of obtaining

  • Brayer – so that I can apply ink evenly to a plate (glass or gel plate). I have sponge paint applicators and other narrow hard brayers but I need a rubber one for ink work.
  • Gel plate – as this works really well with Open Acrylics.
  • Golden Open Acrylics
  • Specially treated photopaper to create Cyanotypes
  • Akua inks – so that I can try these out on various papers.
  • Cobra painting medium – rather than using glazing medium, which has a really strong smell.

I will continue with the coursework exercises now but I am going to return to these tests once I have the equipment I’ve ordered per above.


Rebecca Vincent – artist – showing how she produces her fabulous monotypes.

Dan Tirels – artist – showing one of his processes

Gerda Lipski – artist – showing how she produces monotypes on a home-made gel plate

Nitsa Malik – artist/photographer –  explaining how to print onto tissue paper.

Cyanotype monotype printing process

Lumen monotype printing process  Patti Brady – Golden – demonstration of Gelli plate printing with two pieces of paper in her register  Paula Roland – encaustic monoprinting demonstration    W&N Artisan demonstration using water-soluble oils for monoprinting/monotypes.

Idea for using a printed out portrait, then inking the glass and laying the printout on top and tracing off the subject – works best with low amount of ink (paint) on the glass. The person doing the demo using W&N water mixable oils.


Huttemann-Holz, B  How to Create Encaustic Art Schiffer Publishing, PA, USA 2017  ps. 94-99

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