Printing with a Gelli plate was one of the things that popped up from the reader’s survey. As I happen to love mono printing techniques, it was quickly selected for the theme of the week!
Almost 30 years ago, long before Gelli plates, I used glass plates for mono printing. I usually made a sketch first and then added each color as a separate layer.
This monoprint was made in 1988 and it represents my sisters.
A gelli plate is a great invention and it’s available in various sizes and shapes. My plate is 8 x 10 inches in size. Acquiring one is not a necessity. Glass plates work fine even today. You can also use any plastic transparent like overhead projector transparencies. The advantage of Gelli plate is that it has a flexible and sticky surface. That makes the using of masks easier. So if you fall in love for monoprinting, I would recommend purchasing the Gelli plate.
In addition to the plate I have Golden Open acrylic paints. These paints have extended drying time, so they are especially suitable for monoprinting. I only have six colors but by mixing them I can get a huge variety of colors.
To create monoprints that include self-expression, I have 6 tips for you.
Tip 1: Use brushes instead of a brayer
The most common tool with the Gelli plate is a brayer. I have a Speedball brayer but I often use brushes instead. They make the prints much more artistic, unique and expressive. With brushes you can easily create non-repeating details and large color areas – the elements that contain more communication than monotone repeats.
Tip 2: Use a variety of tools
Your artwork is much more interesting if you use a variety of tools. For this post I have used two different brushes, a double ended embossing needle for doodling and a long pallette knife for wider strokes. Your imagination is the only limitation when tools are considered. Just remember to avoid sharp objects!
Tip 3: Use hand-cut shapes for masks
When combining a variety of colors and surface patterns with hand cut shapes, the result is much more organic than using one color and cutter-cut shapes. The temptation to create a repeated design is bigger than when using freely cut unique shapes.
Here are some patterned papers that I printed from machine-cut shapes.
But with freely cut shapes, I avoided repeating the same motif.
Tip 4: Let each layer bring something new to the artwork
When creating a new layer, I do not mix and match colors too much. Sometimes colors look even more amazing on a plate than on a print, so I had to take a close-up from the plate!
I also think that cutting new shapes for each layer can really pay off. Add new and different with each layer, still letting the lower layers show too!
Tip 5: Create at least two monoprints at the same go
If you use slowly drying acrylics, you can get at least two monoprints from the same layer of paint. You can also experiment with that by creating two different artworks by changing the printing direction. I have turned the last layer upside down in the second monoprint, thus the two prints differ slightly.
Tip 6: Doodle and color over
I doodled over the other of the two monoprints created for this post. Besides a white gel pen and a black thin tip marker, I also used colored pencils to slightly fine-tune the colored areas.
Here’s the bigger picture of the decorated print:
Here are the two finished pieces. Which one do you like more, the one that is not decorated or the one that is?
My husband asked after seeing these: What are you thinking while making these? – I try to think of nothing while creating, I said. Because I believe that you have to think before you create, not while you create. However, after a vivid discussion I named these: the one on the left is Humanity and the one on the right is Technology.
Gelli Printing Project in a Video – Apples and Tomatoes!
In this video I talk about how and why to add diversity to your art. At the same time I am creating a monoprint with a Gelli plate showing easy techniques to create an image.
A bonus tip: Remember that you can also monoprint fabric with a Gelli plate!
See how I used mono printed fabric for the background of an embroidered piece!
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