Monday, August 13, 2018

Create Themed Monoprints with StencilGirl® Stencils

Hi there! It’s Marsha Valk here today, and I’m excited to share a new column and video with you!

I love the restrictions of a prompt or a theme when I create. That’s why I like to play along with the monthly StencilGirl® Creative Team Inspiration theme and with challenges like The Stencilfied Journal.

I’m not at all scared of a theme that will take me outside of my comfort zone, or that will make me think outside of the box. But sometimes it does take a while before an idea hits.

When I read that the theme for August would be all about pets I thought was that I would have to skip it.

I don’t have any pets, you see.

I didn’t think any more about it. That is until I went to see the latest Wes Anderson film ‘Isle of Dogs’. And… only minutes into the movie I knew that this was the answer to my no pet conundrum!

Without giving anything away: ’Isle of Dogs’ is the animated story of a boy who goes to look for his dog.

I’ve included a link to a YouTube playlist with trailers and clips at the end of this blog post, just in case you haven’t seen it yet.

I highly recommend watching this film. In fact, I recommend Wes Anderson’s entire repertoire! Watching any of the movies will make your mind explode with creative inspiration.

After seeing the film, I still had to figure out what it was I wanted to create.

The first ideas began to form after a visit to a temporary exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It was all about Vincent’s fascination with Japan and his vast collection of Japanese woodcut prints.

I have always loved Van Gogh’s studies of Japanese prints, though I never really understood what it was that I liked about them.

Thanks to this exhibition (and another video that I will link below) I now know exactly what it is that appeals to me. And, more importantly, I can finally put into words what it is that I’m always looking for in my own projects.

This, in particular, helped me find some elements to explore in my ‘Dog Days of Summer’ prints.

My next step was to select a couple of stencils that would suit my project. If you have seen ‘Isle of Dogs’ I’m sure my choices will make perfect sense!

And lastly, of course, I needed dogs…

I’m currently on a bit of a collage kick. If I can add magazine or book clippings to my art journal pages and projects in any way or form, then I will.

One trip to the thrift store did the trick: I scored two books with more dog images than I will ever need.

The cool thing about going to a thrift store as opposed to looking for images online is that you will come in contact with so much more than just the subject you are searching for.

You never know, maybe you’ll find a book (or an object) that will be the jumping off point for your next creative adventure!

Browsing through a library can have the same effect, but you eventually have to return any books that you check out.

Materials from the thrift store, on the other hand, are yours to keep indefinitely. They’re usually not very expensive, and as a bonus, you get to cut them up (if that’s what you want)!

With all of my ideas and supplies in order, I started to create.

First I fussy cut a bunch of dog images. Then I used a gel printing plate to transfer the images onto A5 sized paper.

Once I had about a dozen dog prints, I used the same fussy cut images again, but now as masks. I adhered them to the previously made prints with repositionable adhesive.

I used StencilGirl® Products stencils that I thought fitted my ‘Isle of Dogs’ theme and pulled prints on top of the previously created dog prints to create backgrounds that resembled landscapes.

To finish my prints, I lifted the masks off the prints and removed the residue of the repositionable adhesive.

I enhanced some of the lighter prints by inking the contour of the dog images with Distress Ink before I removed the mask.

I used matte medium to collage elements to all of the prints, and I finished each print with paint splatter.

I always like to set prints aside for a while before I decide if I would like to add more collage, marks, doodles and writing. So I may or may not add to these prints on a later date, but for now, I’m pleased with the results!

Before I leave you, I would love to hear if you’ve ever felt inspired to create after seeing a film! What film did you see? And what did you make?! Let us know in the comments!

Until next time!

Marsha Valk

Stencils and mask used:
Shape Shifter by Mary Beth Shaw
Gridded by Rae Missigman
Letters on Box by Daniella Woolf
Diamonds and Triangles Small by Andrew Borloz
Brick Factory by Daniella Woolf
Machinations WP by Carol Wiebe
Machinations 2 by Carol Wiebe
Basket by Daniella Woolf
Seoul Night by Daniella Woolf
Hamburg by Nathalie Kalbach
Circuit by Nathalie Kalbach
Clustered Triangles by Rae Missigman

‘Isle of Dog’ playlist on YouTube
’What did Van Gogh learn from Japanese prints?’ video on YouTube
The Stencilfied Journal by Tina Walker


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Jen! I'm curious what else you wanted to say!! <3

  2. Love these prints! Your video was fun and informative to watch, too. Thanks, Marsha!

  3. Thanks for sharing both your creative prints and process! What kind of paper did you use besides the deli paper?

    1. Hi Sandy! I almost always print on the same 200 g/m2 smooth drawing paper in an A5 size (that's 5.83" x 8.27") that I buy at the nearest office supply/bookstore. It's nothing special, but I love it!

  4. Great explanations of your process and great prints !

  5. I'm not quite sure how you transfer your original prints using the Gelli plate. Could you explain please, thanks!

    1. Hi! There's a fantastic video by my friend Birgit Koopsen about the 'resist printing' technique. You can find it on the Gelli Arts YouTube channel!


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