Oil Paint Sticks Monotypes

A step-by-step tutorial on how to make monotypes with oil paint sticks

Oil paint sticks are a convenient form to use oil paint for making monotypes. You create the image directly with them, laying down color and texture, blending and mixing colors, then place a piece of paper on top to print the monotype. In this demo I used Winsor & Newton Oilbars, but several companies produce oil paint sticks.
01
of 08

Mark Making with an Oil Paint Stick

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
A thin skin forms over the open end of paint stick when you're not using it, as exposed paint dries. This rubs off easily, and then you're working with a soft, buttery paint. The harder you press, the more paint gets applied. The width of the mark you create depends on the size of paint stick you're using, how firmly you're pressing, and the surface you're painting on.

In the photo I'm working with black onto a piece of glass. This being a smooth surface, the paint slides and smears easily. Move the stick around without pressing creates marks in the paint already applied.
02
of 08

Working Wet-on-Wet

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
As with any paint, you don't have to stop to wait for a layer to dry but can continue working wet-on-wet. Applying one oil stick on top of what you've painted with another, the colors will be over-painted, blended, or lifted off, depending on how you use the stick.

Give yourself time to play, to see what happens if you do X or Y. In the photo I've painted some blue over the black from the previous photo, and now am using some yellow for some Van Gogh style stars.
03
of 08

Finalize Your Design

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
There's no rush to finish your design; being oil paint it's not going to dry instantly. Make sure you're happy with it. If you're unsure, consider making the print and then reworking the design once you've seen the result.
04
of 08

Place Your Paper

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Experiment with both dry and damp paper, and with how much pressure you apply to make the print. I had better results with damp paper (blotted between two other sheets so it wasn't shiny wet) than dry. Pressure from rolling with my small brayer was sufficient.

05
of 08

Pull Your Print

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
This is the fun bit, where all is revealed. Don't rush it, lift the paper from one corner gently and slowly. Make sure your hands are clean so you don't inadvertently get paint or ink on the print.
06
of 08

See if It'll Make a Second Print

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
Pull a second print from the the leftover oil stick paint. (Don't think it needs explanation as to why it's sometimes called a ghost print.) The colors won't be as intense as the first print you pulled, but it's worth doing because you may get a print you like. And if you don't, then recycle it in a mixed media artwork or, once it's dried, use it as a background for another print.
07
of 08

Remember Your Image is Reversed

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
Don't forget that your printed image will be reversed. It often doesn't matter at all, but if you were going to include words, then you need to remember to write them backwards. Similarly if you were making a monotype of a recognizable location.
08
of 08

Clean Up

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
A damp cloth or piece of paper towel and a little elbow grease saw the oil stick clean off the glass without a problem. If you left it to dry, you may have to use some oil/solvent.