Playing with Gelatin!

"landscape #1" gelatin print, charcoal, pencil (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Yes, it’s true…I was told not to play with my food as a child but, evidently, I just never took the rule to heart! 🙂 Today I’m going to show you the first of several new printmaking projects made using gelatin as a printing plate.  This is a fun way to explore printmaking without having to use a press. The plate is basically just a 1/4 to 1/2″ deep slab of thick gelatin. Although fairly durable it can develop cracks and other imperfections – you can either embrace them and use them within your art or move to the next plate if you are wanting a mostly smooth, blemish free surface. I divided my sheet into two different plates and placed them on a large piece of plexiglass so I could make slightly smaller prints (around 8×12″ each) instead of large ones. Once that is set up I tape my printing paper in place in one side so that I can flip it over to print and reprint in the same place with each layer.

gelatin plates/paper, ready to print (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker
gelatin plates, first layer of color on plate (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker
first layer of print (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

I used very thin layers of colors for this project so that I could build up the color gradually and manipulate darker & lighter areas.

gelatin print, after 4-5 layers of color (c) Lynne Medsker

I was also working on some “shadow” prints at the same time (using the leftover color on the plate after the first printing). I took some charcoal and added details to the shadow prints, when I printed them again some of the charcoal left it’s mark on the plates. I left it there, added more color and transfered it to these two prints. (I will show you the shadow prints in my next post!)

gelatin prints, charcoal on plates (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker
gelatin prints, final print layer (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

After adding the last layer of color and letting the prints dry I went back in to both of them and added more lines. The images at the top of the page had pencil added to it, this one I used a fine line marker:

"landscape #2" gelatin print, charcoal, marker (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

It has been a while since I’ve done any printmaking projects and these are a departure from the style of the previous ones. It’s always fun to see where my art takes me!
Going with the flow…


5 thoughts on “Playing with Gelatin!

  1. Those look great.

    I am just wondering though, can you do multiple prints with fairly consistent results with gelatin plates, or do they break down quickly?

    I would like to give this a try.

  2. The plates usually hold up through a lot of printing, depending on the ink or paint you use them with. They can be wiped clean with soapy water & reused many times but eventually do break down. As far as consistent result I’ve rarely gotten prints that looked the same but I’ve not really tried to be consistent either. 🙂 Most of what I do are more of the monoprint variety. You should give it a try just to see what you think!


  3. Lynne, brings back memories. I did some more of these last summer. I do like doing them. I love the landscapes. Just beautiful.

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