Stencil monoprints


Each week’s printmaking session leads to the next. The stencilled birds have been an element for some time now, so I decided to use the stencil idea for more forms. The idea for this print stemmed from thinking about Central Australia, its desert landscape and massive red rocks, also the spindly, twisted black trees that are often found there. The result is not really like Central Australia, but still has an Australian landscape feel.

As the layers built, I re-used some of the stencils I had made previously. To apply the shapes to my acrylic printing plate I use a roller to apply thin layers of ink, often turning the stencils over, so excess ink then transfers to the plate as well, which is how the dark green tree forms appeared. I had not intended them to be trees, but clearly, that is what they are. The interesting textures appeared by a lack of care as much as anything else – when I finished printmaking last week, I piled the stencils into a plastic bag. This then adhered temporarily to the inky side of the stencil, making crumpled patterns, and thus was transferred to the plate when I pressed down with the roller. I love the serendipitous results of this method – it doesn’t work every time, but the good surprises make it worthwhile!

To make the stencils I used Yupo, which is a thin, plastic-like medium, like paper but shiny and non-absorbent. (I sometimes use it to draw on with Liquid Pencil, as it pools in interesting ways.) I simply draw the shapes I want on, then cut them out with a sharp blade.

Below are details of the above print, and also images of the first layer.

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

17 thoughts

  1. I like this so much and my first comment was going to be how much it feels like an Australian landscape – and that is before I read what you wrote. It is a joyous picture and there is so much upward thrust – as those black shapes below are pointing our eyes upwards – to the dancing flying birds. The group of three works too, three main blocky shapes below and the three birds above. I could get quite biblical about it (but I won’t). Altogether – spiritual! 10/10!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so pleased you see joy in this, I wasn’t sure if it was a little gloomy, with the dark trees. This image was so unexpected, very different from my original concept it took a little getting used to, but it is one I think is a keeper!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful, Anna and thanks for the GREAT idea using Yupo for stencils. I found acetate so troublesome to cut smoothly even with the heat tool but the yupo cut like butter with an exacto knife, so thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Carol – this is a great way to share tips and ideas isn’t it! The only thing I have found with the yupo is that it tears quite easily, I had to make a new version of the bird stencil because the first one ripped across at a corner. Otherwise though it’s great, because it is thin and flexible.


  3. No doubt because of my own associations, I saw this as a temperate forest rather than the desert of the Australian outback. You mention the dark green being tree forms, yet I saw the long vertical shapes as tree trunks and the shorter dark vertical shapes as falling leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to hear other people’s interpretations of my work – I sometimes think adding a label actually inhibits people seeing something that relates to them in the work. The desert though was the original germ of an idea, that soon disappeared under the green! It is very nice to think of this equally well representing a temperate forest … I value your input!


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