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  • Writer's pictureMarcy LaBella

Mono Printing on Paper - Process Art

Updated: Jan 17, 2019

Winter, Red Hills 2/2 - 2019 Mono Print on Paper 9"x14"

Part of teaching art is teaching the process of art making. I share my own process with students and what works for me. At the start of a session I generally like to know more about the students in my classes, where they are in their art journeys and about their practice. Lots of people express that they want to expand their knowledge and creativity and that fear is the number one thing that holds the back.

All artists experience this to some degree and having a working practice and process in place can help with that. I shared a simple exercise with my students in my morning “Creative Drawing and Painting” class yesterday that got them all quickly moving away from fear and into intuitive play. We created lovely mono prints in just our first 3 hour class.

I start by having everyone use at least 6 or 8 small sheets of paper and a soft graphite either 6 or 8B or a charcoal pencil. I often start my own work this way when I go to the studio without a particular idea. To begin start sketching on all of the small pages, they should be small, 5"x7" or so. Begin by moving quickly from one to the other and begin to start generating ideas and creating line drawings on each. If you need a reference you can set up a still life, work from photos you have taken or even clip art or masters art. Just use your references as a jumping off point. Move between the pages and keep the drawings to marks and contour. You can create observational and abstract drawings or both. Having several small drawings going at once, this keeps the flow going and allows you to have fresh intuitive eyes. You will find you are in the zone and not getting stuck in one place or attached to the piece and frozen - and unable to make the next move which sometimes happens to all artists. These are just visual ideas, not finished drawings and are not meant to be.

Give yourself a time frame - maybe a half hour or so to work on your small drawings and then pick one or two to develop further. Draw these on a piece of sketch paper, 9" x 14" is good. You should take some time to develop your ideas a little further and again keep them to mark and contour.

Using a piece of Plexiglas and a brayer roll out some oil paint evenly to a size a little larger than your paper. Use a piece of newspaper to remove the excess oil paint from the surface of the Plexiglas - this will reduce the "noise" or excess ink on your print. Take a piece of print making paper or mixed media paper the same size as your drawing and place it on the inked plate, place your drawing on top of the paper and using a stylus or a pencil trace over your entire design.

When you lift the papers off the plate you will have a mono print of your drawing. You can then add additional paint or oil pastel to develop more color on this print or leave it as a lovely contour. You can use your original drawing more than one time but you probably won’t get more than a few prints from each drawing. I like to do at least two and leave at least one just as a contour and develop one or more with with color. I use simple color palettes. My favorites being analogous and complimentary. I always love the immediacy of mono printing And how it can transform a simple drawing into an organic art piece almost magically.

Peace and Namaste


Follow me on Instagram @bellamarcella1212

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