Pathway: Exploring the World Through Mono Print

Pathway for Years 1 & 2

Printmaking (Mono Print), Drawing, Collage

Key Concepts:

  • When we make mono prints we use mark making to create one off prints.

  • When we make mono prints we create an impression of a drawing.

  • That we can generate playful narratives and inventions through drawing.

  • That we understand that using a range of marks will generate different effects when creating mono prints.

  • That we can create creative responses to different stimuli and make the work our own.

Building on the exploration of drawing in Autumn term 1, this pathway starts with two explorations of drawing – one drawing from photographs or film, and two drawing from small, closely observed objects.

In both sessions pupils develop drawing and mark making skills.

Children are then introduced to mono print. They explore the work of an artist who uses mono print in his own work, and are introduced to a simple mono print technique.

Classes then have a choice of projects to develop mono printing and drawing skills, depending upon their preferred area of subject focus.

This pathways encourages children to take creative risks and use drawing as a way to playfully invent and create narratives.

Themes: Natural and Manmade Forms, Invention, Narrative

Medium: Graphite pencils, Oil Pastels, Carbon Paper 

Artists: Xgaoc’o X’are, Leonardo Di Vinci

This pathway will take approximately half a term, based upon a weekly art lesson.

If you use this resource in your setting, please tag us on social media: #InspiredBy @accessart (facebook, twitter) (instagram) and share the url. Thank you!

peeling back the paper to reveal the print
Using carbon paper as a drawing tool
Carbon and oil pastel mono print
ages 5-8

Teaching Notes

Find the MTP for this pathway here.

See the recording of the hour long zoom CPD to introduce teachers to this pathway.

Curriculum Links

English: Link to English by asking children to draw upon their own experience for narratives.

Geography: Adapt to explore habitats, continents. 

Maths: Use language to develop understanding of symmetry (peeling back monoprints). 

Science: Animals, trees, materials. 

PSHE: Peer discussion. Collaboration.

Be aware that you leave the making open enough for the children to explore fully and freely (not constrained by working too closely to a theme).

I Can…

  • I can make drawings using photos from films as my source material.

  • I can look closely guided by my teachers voice, and work in my sketchbook or on paper to make drawings using soft pencil or handwriting pen. 

  • I can look closely at small objects close to me and make drawings with soft pencil or handwriting pen at the same scale or size. 

  • I can think carefully about which marks I will include in my drawing.

  • I can share my sketchbook work with the class and talk about what I like about my work. I can listen to others talking about their work, and sometimes I can add my thoughts. 

  • I have seen what a mono print is and have explored the work of an artist who uses mono print. I can share my thoughts on the artists work. 

  • I can use carbon paper to make mono prints.  I can experiment with the kinds of marks I make, and think about how they help make my drawings interesting.

  • I can base my drawings upon careful observational looking. I can slow down my looking and mark making and work for 5 to 15 minutes on a drawing. 

  • I can explore a theme and make mono prints using my imagination to make my drawings personal.

  • I can share my work and talk about what I like, and what I would like to try again.

  • I can enjoy looking at the work of my classmates and sometimes I can share my thoughts about their work. 

  • I have understood that through art, I can invent and discover.


This pathway takes 6 weeks, with an hour per week. Shorten or lengthen the suggested pathway according to time and experience. Follow the stages in green for a shorter pathway or less complex journey.


Soft pencils, oil pastels/wax crayons, handwriting pens, carbon paper, A3 cartridge paper, tracing paper.


Pathway: Exploring the World through Mono Print

A PDF of this pathway can be found here.

  • Aims of the Pathway

    This pathway aims to encourage children to explore the world around them through monoprint. How can we use line, mark, shape and colour to make imagery informed by our own perception of the world?

  • Week 1: Explore

    Draw from Stills & Film

    natural world

    Children will spend the first week making drawings in their sketchbooks. Use the free to accessDrawing Source Material: Natural Worldresource to inspire their drawings.

    Use the “Show Me What You See” resource to help guide the children’s drawing. 

  • Week 2: Drawing from Observation

    Drawing Small

    drawing small

    Use theDrawing Smallresource to help children become aware of the relationship of drawing, looking and mark making. 

    Pupils will work in sketchbooks or on larger sheets of loose paper.

    If you want further challenges, invite children to draw with their non dominant hand, create a blind drawing, a backwards forwards drawing and also a continuous line drawing.

    By the end of week two sketchbooks should be full of a variety of images – from drawings of the natural world capturing movement and energy made in week one, to collections of small, still,  found objects made in week two. 

  • Recap

    Reflect and Discuss

    Year Two boy holding up his pastel drawing of a leaf in a year one and two classroom at Hauxton Primary school with teacher Pamela Stewart for Inspire

    End week two with a short class or small group discussion about the sketchbook work. Encourage children to remember what they did and discuss whether pupils prefer drawings from week one or week two. 

  • Week 3: Introducing Mono Prints

    What is a Mono Printing?

    Monotype Drawn Over Paper by Tobi MeuwissenIntroduce pupils to the technique of mono printing with ink. Watch this video on “trace monotype” and find out how you can facilitate a lesson on printmaking.

    NOTE: In this pathway you will be using a slightly different method which is cleaner and easier!

  • Introduce an Artist

    Explore the Work of Xgaoc'o X'are

    Two giraffe and two birds II 50x65sm by Qhaqhoo Xgaoc'o X'are

    Explore the work of Botswanan Printmaker Xgaoc’o X’are using the free to access Talking Points: Xgaoc’o X’areresource. Use the questions on that resource to discuss his work.

  • Experiment

    Mono Printing With Carbon Paper

    Carbon and oil pastel mono print

    Use theMono Printing with Carbon Copy Paperresource to start the print making journey.

    This activity encourages children to look carefully at their subject matter and make thoughtful marks in response. The addition of oil pastel enables children to experiment with colour and shape as well as line.

    Children can either draw from the same objects that they drew in week two, or new objects. The aim of the session is for pupils to explore and see what they can do with this technique – the journey is more important than any final outcome. Pupils will work in sketchbooks or on sheets of paper. 

  • Week 4 & 5: Find Your Focus

    Choose a Theme

    Carbon and oil pastel detail

    Choose from one of the projects below, or adapt a similar approach to your own area of focus/curriculum theme. 

    All the resources below share the common aim of enabling children to explore printmaking with a focus on mono print. Whatever the focus or theme you attach make sure you give pupils plenty of freedom to play and invent.

    Give children plenty of time and space to explore, take creative risks, discover and share, without working towards a predefined outcome. Encourage and celebrate individuality.

    Have sketchbooks open on tables and encourage children to make notes (whatever form they take), and record and reflect.

  • Option 1

    Mono Printing Session with ‘Change, Grow, Live’

    peeling back the paper to reveal the print

    If you’d like to continue the theme of animals/natural habitat/natural world, then use theMono Printing Session with Change, Grow, Liveresource to make prints inspired by animals. (Pls note: the resource describes using carbon copy paper to print and also using ink and rollers to print. In this case use carbon copy paper). 

    Xgaoc’o X’are’s prints are inspired by the cave drawings made by his ancestors. It could be interesting to get children to think about a narrative involved in the animals that they choose to draw. For example an animal that they think represents them.

    Invite children to bring in animal toys or find images of animals with significance to them.

  • Option 2

    Inventions Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci

    The "drawn" side of the carbon - used as a drawing in its own right

    If you would like to continue working with small objects and link to curriculum areas such as materials, then you might like to use theDrawings of Inventions Inspired by Leonardo Da Vinciresource. 

  • Week 6: Display & Reflect

    Present, Talk, Share and Celebrate

    If children worked on separate sheets of paper throughout the project, consider if they would like to make a “Backwards Sketchbook” from the experimental loose prints and drawings made throughout the half term.

    Invite children to display the work in a clear space, and walk around the work as if they are in a gallery. Open out sketchbooks. Give the work the respect it deserves. Remind the children of their hardwork.

    If you have class cameras or tablets, invite the children to document their work, working in pairs or teams. 

    Use the resource here to help you run a class “crit” to finish the project. 

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