How to Do Monotypes, Create Monotypes

  • I would like to tell you that the first step in how to do monotypes is the fun part, but I don’t want to tell stories. The fact of the matter is, it’s an artform in which every step of creating monotypes is a fun part! It took several tries to get the technique right when I started last year, but it was truly so very worth it. Because of that, if able to explain myself clearly, you can avoid the mistakes that I made, and jump right in to a sucessful painting on the first try! It’s turned into a wonderful medium in art for me! An artform and a medium in art taylor made for beginners!




    You will need to know what materials you’ll need for the how to do monotypes art form, so let’s get them together… 1) A flat, smooth surface, larger than the painting(s) you want to do 2) Some latex or water based paint; leftovers from interior painting projects are fine, and I have a big inventory of that. 3) A 2 inch to 3 inch paint brush; a dollar store brush is fine. 4) Little bit of counter space for a limited time 5) An old bath towel that got thrown in the rags 6) Some small absorbent cleaning rags 7) A cookie sheet or rectangle cake pan 8) Wax paper 9) A 2-5 gallon bucket for hot soapy water. 10)I think that should do it. Whoops, I almost forgot the cardboard box to transport the treasures in.




    Step number one; Go for a walk. You will want to take a fairly large cardboard box. Along your walk in the woods, the park, or your own yard, pick some ferns, tall grassy reeds, two-dimensional flowers, not the large full blossoms, something like daisies, without the big lumpy middle parts. Some shapely leaves will do nicely, maybe from wild morning glory. The leaves from blackberry bushes will fit in beautifully. Tree leaves are quite large for this, but you might want a few, depending on your own specific pattern. Use your imagination to creare your own art form. Some leaves, like those on pepermint aren’t really very attractive in the natural setting, but the perfect outlines of a monotype have the ability to transform them into some incredibly striking patterns in a painting. So grab a few of them if they’re available. The beauty is, that every time you go out, everything is progressing along toward maturity, so each leaf will be different than it was last week. The perfect ingredients for how to do monotypes!



    Some of the leaves from cattails or swamp reeds will also be useful in how to do monotypes. After this nature walk, you may be tired, so get the box full of natural fauna home, and get a tall drink of lemonaid before the next step!



    The time has come to get your area ready to do the painting part. This can be done right in the kitchen of your home, if you don’t have a better place. I really prefer working my technique in the kitchen. It’s just so natural, and you can’t beat indoor plumbing for creating monotypes. If I need to be outside to enjoy the exceptional weather, I just take the pail of hot soapy water and a cookie sheet out to the picnic table with me. admitedly, the kitchen does not turn into a leaf strewn mess when I work outside. Weigh the pros and cons… How to do monotypes!

    In addition to the immediate work area, You will need counter or table space; a little larger than your final painting will be. Lay the bath towel on it to dry the monotype on to dry when finished, and a trash basket nearby for the cleanup. If you’re all set up, let’s rock and roll! Get busy, learn how to do monotypes!

    Carefully dip your rice paper into the cookie sheet full of water, and pull it through until the whole sheet of paper is wet. Lay it on the bath towel to blot off the extra water. You can lay the other half of the towel over the top to blot the water there.

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    Paint your clean flat surface(I use a piece of counter top left over from redoing the kitchen)with a latex or water base paint. The color to use is your choice for how to do monotypes.




     I’m going to use a light green to begin, and drop some soft yellow, and bright blue watercolors on for a little variety. Maybe even a little white to keep it light.




    It’s time to lay the natural fauna directly on to the wet paint, being careful not to move it around too much after it touches the paint. Some of the limper leaves aree going to want to fold. Try to avoid the folding over, but not to the point where there is painted parts of leaves facing up. That isn’t what you’re looking for.


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    Beginning from either side of the paper, and progressing toward the other side, take your time to lay the rice paper over the leaves, ferns, and the rest. If the paper tries to wrinkle or fold, work these out now. Fold your old bed sheet so that it is only slightly larger than the rice paper, and lay it gently over the rice paper.



    Holding the wax paper still with the left hand, gently pat and smooth with the right hand, thouroughly patting down the entire painting area of the paper. Time to remove the wax paper, the best case scenereo, being to drop it immediatly into the trash can that I was supposed to have told you to have handy. It’s fun, but I never said it wouldn’t require forethought.




    Now that the wax paper is out of the way, ever so carefully remove the rice paper from the painted surface. Turn it over, painted side up on the old towel to dry. Latex and water colors don’t take more than an hour or so to dry. Time to clean up the mess! Any voulenteers? Any? If bits of leaves or plants are in the paint on your paper, NOW, while the paint is still wet, is the time to remove them with a pair of tweezers. And then there is the rest of the mess. You get to deal with yours, and I’ll deal with mine. I like to do anywhere between 4 and 8 paintings in a shot. I think it saves me somewhere between 3 and 7 messes, and I do love a bargain! If you enjoyed how to do monotypes, you might want to look into some of my other artforms, too. Befor long, I will be publishing my first e-book, complete with techniques for reverse glass painting and another on how to do monotypes, the different ways of creating.




    Now that the masterpiece is done, let’s finalize it with a matted frame. One more time, we’re going to get that rice paper wet from the back side of the painting. This will remove puckers from the drying process. Just spray a little water on with a spray bottle, and let it soak in for acouple of minutes. Using a spray adhesive, You are going to cover the back of the painting lightly, but be sure to be thorough. Center the cardboard backing that came with the frame as closely as humanly possible over the painting, and turn it over, painting side up. Smooth the painting on to the cardboard with your hands. Lay the mat over the painting, and place them into the frame. This is how to do monotypes. Some times, just a lack of technique in an art form just brings out the joy in creating monotypes! Voila! I love it!


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