An introduction to printmaking – monoprint, carborundum and drypoint with Gail Mason

Ref: SWE31875

Location: West Dean
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About this course

An introduction to the wonderful world of monoprinting. Explore a variety of techniques to produce richly detailed and textured images. Learn to use an etching press and prepare plates in a variety of ways.

Course Description

Instinctive, spontaneous, expressive and intuitive - the world of monoprints! Come and dip your toe into a variety of traditional and contemporary techniques in oil based printmaking. You will learn how to use an etching press and print from prepared surfaces, resulting in richly textural images which combine mark-making with colour and monochrome to produce a series of experimental works.

The terms in printmaking can be confusing, so come and be enlightened. Your tutor will demonstrate inking and wiping, registration of multiple plates and using collage elements to introduce added colour or mark. You will explore various approaches to oil-based monotype, concentrating on texture, line and tone.

You will be working with trace monotype, subtractive and additive methods of making the plate, exploring mono textures with subtle areas of tonal value and texture from fabric and papers, etc., and capitalising on the ghost image to introduce layers of imagery and mark-making.

You will learn how to use carborundum to give rich darks, and how to use drypoint tools to give a special quality of line. The combination of all these approaches will produce a series of explorations for you to develop your image-making.

The course will cover many different aspects of which you may choose to pursue one, or you can combine various plates and approaches to produce composite prints.

By the end of the course, you will have a body of work that should give you the confidence and enthusiasm to further develop your printmaking knowledge.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the college will supply most of the materials, including intaglio inks, Somerset paper, cartridge paper, newsprint, tissue paper, carborundum, scrim, drypoint paper, acrylic sheet and a craft knife.

What students need to bring

  • Apron
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Any ideas/inspiration, such as photographs or sketches
  • Pritt Stick
  • Mark-making tools, such as a variety of pencils, wooden spoon, stick, crayon, etc.
  • Thin materials, such as textured wallpaper, threads, fabrics that may give good surface impressions.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials are available to buy, including printing papers, such as Somerset paper and cartridge paper, Pritt sticks, notebooks and general drawing materials.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots. There may be restrictions on equipment available to students in tutor’s absence.


Gail Mason

Gail Mason is a painter/printmaker exploring the ‘Emotional Landscape’ through semi-abstract fictive works. With an MA in Multidisciplinary Printmaking, Gail has been a tutor at Spike Print Studio since 2008. Selected for the Royal Academy and a recipient of several national awards, her works have been widely exhibited and collected in the UK.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.