How to use a gelli plate to create faces

I love to use the gelli plate to make lovely prints to add to my journal pages, they add colour and pattern as well as images which can be traced and printed using the gelli plate. Prints can be made directly onto journal pages or onto loose paper to stick down as needed. Here is how I use the gelli plate to make specific image prints traced from magazines or free painted.

Supplies

  • Gelli Plate
  • selection of paper to print on
  • acrylic paint (I used black)
  • paint brush
  • magazines to get images to trace

Process

Select a face you want to print and one which is going to trace well. I always look for good hair and clear features.

Take a good look at the image and decide where you are going to paint your lines to print. Put the gelli plate over the image and paint the lines for the outline of the face and features onto the plate. I find that fewer brush strokes work better than a busy image. Work quickly because acrylic paint dries fairly fast. Place the paper over the plate and rub carefully and evenly to get the print or place the plate directly onto your sketchbook page.

As well as the magazine images I painted some freehand eyes onto the plate and printed them, most gave two good prints so I got lots of pairs of eyes! How about lots of lips?!

I like to print on old book paper like dictionary paper and my favorite thing to print on is dry wax paper or ‘deli paper’ which allows you to glue the image over a background and the paper almost becomes transparent. You can often get a couple of prints from one plate, so be ready to pull the second print and see how it turns out. The second, ‘ghost’ print is always a lot paler and with less paint but is often a great print with a slightly different effect.

The possibilities are endless and I have fallen in love with this technique as a great way to get a face or figure onto your page without the stress of trying to draw it freehand. Practice with different brush sizes and paint colours and before long you will have a wonderful collection of prints to add to your journal pages.

Clare

Clare is originally from the north of England and has lived in the mid-west of America since 2003. Her workplace is the local library where she is a part time librarian, which is good because she loves books. Her favourite part of art journaling is the opportunity to create with no pressure and usually no finished idea in mind and the chance to create a sketchbook and fill it up however she wants! The worst part of art journaling for Clare is knowing when to stop! Her favourite dinosaur is Brontosaurus because they eat plants and have a long neck, like her!

14 Comments

  1. Sasha Zinevych

    Those eye prints! I’m in love! Thanks so much for sharing, Clare!

    • Clare Davis Etheridge

      The eyes are such fun!

  2. Romana

    Never thought to trace straight on to a gelli plate in this way. Great ideas here!

    • Clare Davis Etheridge

      The gelli plate works all kinds of magic doesn’t it! I think this way of making faces still keeps your own style too which is a good thing.

  3. Jenny Sehlstedt

    This is so cool! Thank you!

    • Clare Davis Etheridge

      Thanks Jenny! I hope you have a go and share what you make.

  4. Gilly Welch

    Brilliant, some great ideas that I’d not thought of before, thanks Clare!

    • Clare Davis Etheridge

      I can’t wait to se what you make Gilly, once you start with these, you don’t stop looking for good faces to copy!

  5. Deborah Hosaflook

    OH CLARE THIS IS LOVELY. I WILL HAVE TO TRY THIS IN MY HOURNAL. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS TUTORIAL. AND I LOVE YOUR COMMENT ABOUT HOW YOU TRY TO FIND A FACE WITH “Good Hair” 🙂

    • Clare Davis Etheridge

      Ha! Good hair is always a must!!

  6. Elizabeth D.

    Oh, Clare! Now I’m dying to get to my Gelli plate and give this a try! These are fantastic.

    • Clare Davis Etheridge

      Yay, grab the gelli plate and have a go! They are super fun.

  7. Emily@squiggleandswirl

    Such a brilliant idea Clare and they look so good! Have to try this!

    • Clare Davis Etheridge

      Hi Emily! Yes, give it a go, super fun!