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How-Tuesday: Landmark Monoprints

Mar 6, 2012

by Julie Schneider handmade and vintage goods

Veronica Lawlor is an illustrator with Studio 1482 in New York City and an instructor at Pratt Institute, Parsons the New School for Design, and the Dalvero Academy. She is also the author of One Drawing A Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity with Illustration and Mixed Media, which features a series of drawing exercises based on work by the eight illustrators of Studio 1482.

Today we are going to do an illustration exercise based upon a beautiful monoprint of Sacré-Coeur Cathedral by Studio 1482 illustrator Dominick Santise. Location work like this is a big part of what Studio 1482 Illustration is all about.

The assignment is to create a monoprint of a local landmark. Since I live in downtown New York City, I decided to create a monoprint of the Empire State Building, but you can follow these instructions to make a monoprint of any landmark. It was a beautiful day, perfect for drawing outside.

What You’ll Need:
A pad of absorbent paper (I recommend Canson’s Mixed Media Paper.)
Some Caran d’Ache crayons
A few brushes
A spray bottle
A cup for water


1. Spray the paper lightly with water from the spray bottle and select a few colors you want to work with – no more than seven or eight. Don’t feel like you have to keep it realistic, you can choose your colors by feel.

2. Take one of the crayons and start to draw the outline of the landmark. Any color you like is fine: I chose pink to begin with. Next, start blocking in some of the shapes, and add color for the sky as well. Keep it minimal and blocky – don’t try to get in too many details, this is the basis of our print.

3. Work with the side as well as the point of the crayon for lots of texture and coverage.

4. Keep the paper wet. Spray more water when needed, so there is a lot of paint on the paper. You can use the brush to move the color around.

5. When you have enough wet color down on the page, take another sheet of the mixed media paper and place it face down over your drawing. (You might spray it with the water lightly one more time before you do this.) Smooth it out with your hand, making sure that you cover the entire image.

6. Once you feel that full contact has been made, peel the page slowly to reveal your monoprint.
Next, take your water-soluble crayons and draw into the print, adding more water with your spray bottle when desired. This is where you can add marks and details, as I have done with the windows and lines on the Empire State building.

7. Keep drawing as much as you like into the monoprint. I added a few leaves and some clouds for fun.

A Variation:

For a variation on this technique, you can start with a watercolor base. Try a pan set like Pelican, and spray it until the paint pans are soaked. Lay the color down thickly in big rough shapes on the mixed media paper, spraying it to keep the paint wet.

When you have your basic painting ready, press another sheet face down on it and, using your caran d’ache crayon, draw the landmark roughly on the back. Peel the monoprint apart to reveal your drawing. Again, add more lines and information with your Caran d’Ache crayons.

What a great way to welcome spring – an afternoon of art in the sun.

Thank you to Veronica Lawlor and Quarry Books for sharing this project with us. For more projects like this one, check out One Drawing a Day, available from Amazon or your friendly local bookseller.

If you make your own monoprint, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group.

If you’re in NYC, join us for a special event at the Etsy Labs on March 8th called Hands-On: Drawing. RSVP for a chance to come draw with us, or tune in online.

More Things to Make | Monoprints on Etsy

ooak monoprints botanical study series of six
ooak monoprints botanical study series of six
Jubilant Wolf Monoprint by Emma Kidd / original
Jubilant Wolf Monoprint by Emma Kidd / original


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