Monday, May 11, 2020

Typography: How To Gel Print Text With StencilGirl® Alphabet Stencils

Hi there! It's Marsha Valk, and I have a new column and a new video to share with you today!

If you've ever read one of my columns here before, you know that I love to visit museums. So when I heard about this month's theme 'Typography' back in March, I promptly decided to pay a visit to a local museum to see a collection of Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman prints on display.

Little did I know that it would be my last museum visit for the foreseeable future as that same afternoon the Dutch government announced the closing down of all public places as part of its COVID-19 measures.

Lucky for us living in this digital age, we don't have to miss out on art entirely even if we can't go to a museum.

Some museums are sharing virtual tours of current exhibitions through their social media accounts and lots of museums offer digitalised archives online.

A selection of Werkman's work is, for instance, viewable via the online collection of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

While I was looking for even more printmaking inspiration for another project, I came across the work of Corita Kent.

I wasn't familiar with her work at all. However, one glimpse of her colourful prints was enough for me to want to find out more.

The Corita Art Center website provides a lot of information as well as a digital archive of her work.

Though the work of both printmakers was created decades apart and is very different, both Kent and Werkman used typography and bold colours. And, they both used their work to express activism concerning war, politics, religion and injustice.

This prompted me to think of how I could use my StencilGirl® alphabet stencils on my gel printing plate in a more intentional way, beyond texture or motive.

I wanted the letters to say something on my monoprints. Not as an act of activism in any way. However, I did want the letters to form words, and I also wanted control over the composition and alignment of the letters.

See what I came up with in this video:

Taking inspiration from Corita Kent's pop art prints, I turned to recipes for my words. However, you can use this technique to print any text you like!

Gel printing words and sentences using StencilGirl® alphabet stencils is a lot of fun, even though it does take a bit more patience and elbow grease than pulling a regular gel print. Enjoy giving it a go yourself!

Until next time!

Marsha Valk

Stencils used in prints:
Vintage Typewriter Numbers Stencil by Carolyn Dube
Vintage Typewriter Alphabet Stencil by Carolyn Dube
Art Deco Empire Stencil by Nathalie Kalbach
Art Nouveau Wallpaper Stencil by Nathalie Kalbach
Signals Stencil by Nathalie Kalbach
Manhattan Stencil by Nathalie Kalbach

Search results for Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum
The Corita Collection on the website of the Corita Art Center


  1. Love this technique - and your inspired results - thanks, Marsha!

  2. amazing result!
    One question: Why don't you turn your alphabet stencil to the other side at the beginning (in such a way that the letters are reversed when the color is applied?) Good luck! Happy Creativity !!!


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