By Mercedese Bantz, Printed in Somerset Studio magazine, March/April issue 2002


Akua Kolor water-based ink
(nine layers of inks used on finished rooster: phthalo blue, yellow cohre, vermillion, hansa yellow, burnt sienna, vermillion, black)

  • Plexiglass “plate” to paint on (Plexiglass available in pre-cut sizes at art supply stores or hardware stores in the glass section)
  • Grease pencil
  • Watercolor brushes, foam rollers, sponges, daubers, etc. To apply ink
  • Cotton swabs
  • Paper towels
  • Shaper tools to remove ink
  • Masking tape’
  • Newsprint paper
  • Smooth Bistol or printmaking paper such as Aches 88 or BFK ives ( Bristol is inexpensive and excellent for practicing).
  • Bone Folder
  • Cosmetic Sponges


A monotype is created when an image is painted onto a Plexiglass plate, then transferred to printmaking paper. The image may consist of a single transfer or a buildup of multiple layers. Akua Kolor inks are water-based and can be printed on dry paper without waiting for the previous layers to dry before printing the next color. They transfer well by hand without a press, allowing anyone to created terrific prints at their kitchen table, with easy clean up in the sink using soap and water.

Setting Up to Print & Creating a Registration Sheet

A registration sheet is necessary to align multiple layers of color. Use a clean sheet of newsprint that is larger than the sheet you will be printing on. Lay a Plexiglass plate in the center of newsprint and draw around it with a pencil or waterproof marker.

Now measure out from the plate the size of the paper you will be printing on. Example: If your plate is 8”x8” and your paper is 11”x14”, measure 1 _ from each side and 3” from top and bottom. Connect the dots—this is where your piece of printmaking paper will be placed.

Lay printmaking paper on the newsprint and secure with light tack tape hinges. This will allow you to work as long as you like, adding multiple layers of colors that will align. See the illustration at the right.

Before painting on the plexiglas plate, remove the paper covering and wash it with soapy water. This will remove any greasy residue. Dry the plate thoroughly. Draw your image onto the plate using a grease pencil

Create the Image

Turn the plexiglass plate over. Do not paint on the side with the grease pencil drawing. Going so will reverse your image.

Always shake the bottles of ink before using because the pigment tends to settle. Do not add water to the inks, and be sure to squeeze dry your brush on sponge after rinsing to avoid contaminating the inks. Water causes these inks to separate and can leave funny raised spots on your printmaking paper. No palette is needed, although you may mix Akua Kolor inks just as you would paints. You can also drip the inks directly onto the plate, a little ink goes a long way. You can apply the ink with brushes, foam rollers, daubers, sticks even your fingers…anything goes. Q-tips and shaper tool work great for removing ink. Be sure to not leave “puddles” of ink: they will squish out when you apply pressure to transfer. Lift puddles with the corner of a paper towel or newsprint.

To print, work on a smooth, hard surface. Place the plate on the registration sheet. Gently lay the printmaking paper over the image. Using the bone folder held flat (lengthwise) , rub the back of the entire image. Be sure to work in all directions with even pressure to avoid making transfer lines in your print.

Use the pointed end of the bone folder to carefully trace the edge of the plate with enough pressure to create a score indentation or “plate” mark. See he bottom left illustration. Fold back the paper to see the results of your transfer, but do not remove the hinge. If desired, repeat the process and add ore layers of color.

Always clean with water and dry the plate before adding the next color. Carefully remove the hinge when the print is finished.

Numbering Your Finished Monotypes

Monotypes are one-of-a-kind prints and always numbered one of one (1/1). They are usually numbered on the bottom left of the print, with the title in the center and the signature on the right. Occasionally you will have enough ink on your plate to transfer to another sheet of paper. These are called “Ghost” prints, and although they are similar to the first print they are not identical, therefore they are also numbered 1/1.



  • For best results, add a bit of Akua Kolor Tack Thickener when inking stamps or woodblock prints.
  • If you are working in very hot or dry conditions. Add a drop or two of Akua Kolor Retarder to the ink to extend your working time.
  • Multiple layers of color will produce vivid pints with lots of depth.
  • Always ty to leave at least a bit of white paper. This will add contrast to your prints.
  • When inking the plate using the foam roller, continue adding more ink and rolling to achieve the desired color. When using he cosmetic sponge, short dabs will give you good coverage. Use a light touch to eliminate sponge marks and crate an even color of terrific blend.
  • Try printing on textured paper.
  • Keep a bit of ink with some thickener in a fine-tip squeeze bottle. You can take it out on location and sketch onto small Plexiglass plates. Lay plates in the sun to dry. When you return to your studio, reactivate the ink by using a bit of Akua Kolor Retarder on a cosmetic sponge or foam roller. These images can print days later with reactivation. Go not try this with acrylic –base inks or paints; once those have dried you will not be able to remove them from your plates.