Printing for Beginners: Low Tech Litho and Monoprint

603 TUTOR: Karen Carter

Discover the wonderful world of printing using photocopies, oil paint and water. You will explore various monoprinting techniques and Gum Arabic transfer (low-tech litho), all of which can be easily done at home with a minimum of specialist equipment. There will be step by step demonstrations for every stage of the process then, once you have learnt the basics, time to experiment, combine and play with the techniques. This is a fun and informal workshop suitable for complete beginners or those wishing to refresh their skills.

Course Notes

This course offers you the opportunity to try out a variety of techniques for printing by hand and also using our lovely etching press. We will look at the immediacy and spontaneity of monoprinting and the interesting markmaking and vintage effects of low-tech lithography. We will be using oil paints throughout for our printing, and methods & materials that can easily be replicated at home.

There will be step-by-step demonstrations, followed by time to explore the different processes at your own pace - layering, combining and using colour to produce a series of prints. No previous experience is needed, just a willingness to experiment and a big apron!

Low-tech Lithography (Gum Arabic Transfer printing)

This is a process that falls somewhere between drawing, photography and printing.

Using high-contrast photocopies of photos or drawings we will turn them into prints with a distinctive vintage feel using the principles of oil and water repelling each other.....this is a very low-tech form of lithography that can easily be done at home.

We will also use polyester printing plates to work on directly with pens & waxy or oily pencils - the process works in the same way as using photocopies but produces crisp results and faithful reproductions of your marks.

We will cover the process of preparing your photocopy, laser print or polyester plate for printing; how to ink your plate using oil paints and Gum Arabic; taking a print by hand on different surfaces (this is a technique that can be used on all sorts of things) and layering an image.


This is a very spontaneous form of printmaking and spans the bridge between drawing, painting and printing, producing unique images every time.

We will explore drawn or direct monoprints, combining them with collage and other materials to produce one-off mixed media prints, as well as painted & wiped processes to create interesting layered images. These two approaches can be combined with the low-tech lithography to create truly unique prints.

Be prepared to experiment and play with the processes….all you need is a big apron and an open mind!

On the last day we will have an informal group review and gallery session of our work.

PLEASE NOTE: We will be using oil paints to print with during this workshop - cleaning up is done mainly with baby wipes and soap & water, but please bring barrier cream or gloves if you know you have an allergy to any of these materials.

Useful Books (copies of these will be available to look at during the course)

Handmade Prints (Anne Desmet); Printmaking for Beginners (Jane Stobart);

The Instant Printmaker (Melvyn Petterson & Colin Gale)

Students 'To Bring' List:

Sketchbook / photos / ideas to work from (tutor will also provide some starting points / images)

High contrast b/w photocopies (not inkjet prints)…..image size: no larger than A5 for handprinting or up to A4 for printing through the press. (the tutor will also bring some images)

Baby wipes, old apron or shirt

Pencil, biro, rubber, notebook

The tutor will provide all other materials

Course Tutor

Karen Carter

About Karen

Karen is an enthusiastic and experienced tutor specialising in printmaking and acrylics. Her method of teaching is both informal but instructional, aiming to bring out everyone's creativity in an encouraging and friendly atmosphere. Having studied design and illustration at art college she worked for many years as a commercial artist. She now divides her time between teaching and pursuing her own work, with involvement in exhibitions, studio trails, residencies and private commissions.

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Summer School Dates for 2022

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM