If you haven’t discovered the unbridled joy of monoprinting with a gel plate, you have not lived, my friends. That’s why I’m so happy to bring you this fantastic guest blog from Joan Bess, the author of Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-Media Monoprinting Without a Press, and the inventor of the Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate. Monoprinting with the Gelli plate is nothing short of revolutionary, and Joan’s book is packed with incredible techniques and tips for creating amazing artwork. Even if you’ve done some monoprinting, these methods will take your creativity to new levels. Here’s Joan with a fun tutorial that you’ve got to try! ~ Jeannine
While exploring printmaking techniques, it’s amazing how simply using a new or different material or tool can lead to exciting creative results.
I’m currently obsessed with the masking fluid technique featured in my book Gelli Plate Printing on pages 94-95. Lately I’ve discovered the advantages of using a Fineline Masking Fluid Pen, and I’ll show you my new discoveries in this tutorial.
Applying masking fluid with the needle-tip applicator gives you more control, making it a great tool for drawing, doodling, and writing words on your paper before you print. To create a monoprint using masking fluid, follow these easy steps:
- 8”x10” Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
- Fineline® Masking Fluid Pen
- Golden Artist Colors® Open Slow-Drying Acrylic Paints
- Speedball® 4” Soft Rubber Brayer with Pop-In Roller
- Strathmore® Bristol Smooth Surface 9″ x 12″ paper, 100-lb.
- Optional: Rubber cement pick-up eraser
1. Draw a design on the paper with the masking fluid, using the needle-tip applicator to draw a design. Allow the masking fluid to dry completely.
2. Brayer a layer of acrylic paint onto the Gelli plate, then press the masked paper onto the plate. Rub to transfer the paint, and pull your print.
3. When the print is fully dry, gently rub the mask off the paper with a clean finger or the rubber cement pick-up eraser, revealing the masked design.
4. Here is the final print; you can print multiple layers on paper with dry masking fluid on it. The dried fluid is easy to remove, even with layers of paint on it. In the finished artwork below, I created a layered effect by placing cut paper circles on top of the inked Gelli plate.
5. This detail of the finished artwork shows how you can get a dramatic mix of patterns and colors using the masking fluid.
Here are a few more tips and ideas:
• Thin areas of masking fluid dry quickly, but thick areas or blobs take more time to dry. I like to prepare several masked papers and let them dry overnight.
• Dry masking fluid is dimensional, which can cause a halo effect around the masked areas in the print. To avoid that, apply extra pressure when printing. Brayering the back of the paper before pulling the print helps push the paper into the gel plate and transfer the paint. Experiment with the amount of paint on the plate.
• It’s best to peel off the masking fluid soon after a print is completely dry.
• Masking fluid applied to black paper reveals rich black lines when the mask is removed. Printing with metallic, interference, and iridescent acrylic paints on masked black paper creates dramatic images.
• You can further embellish masked areas on prints with various pens, pencils, watercolors, and more.
• This masking fluid technique broadens your image-making possibilities, just as each technique in the book provides inspiration for explorations in monoprinting.
Joan Bess is Co-Founder of Gelli Arts® and originator of the gel printing plate concept. Since 2010, she has been developing numerous and varied techniques for monoprinting on the Gelli plate. Joan is the author of the North Light Book Gelli Plate Printing, which features many of those techniques. See more of Joan’s work and get more techniques for the Gelli plate at gelliarts.com.