Our first few attempts were not stellar. But I made a breakthrough when I realized more acrylic paint made a better print. Soon we were into the flow of it, impressed with the performance of simple computer paper and vellum. Instead of buckling, those thinner papers clung to the gelatin and really soaked up the paint. Grace and I pulled at least 20 prints apiece from our separate trays and the results were much better than either of us expected or hoped. Even after my friend left, I found it hard to stop making prints. I felt such an infusion of enthusiasm and happiness and creativity.
Comfortable with color theory and having layered paints before, I didn't find any need to clean off the plate with a wet sponge each time I changed colors, as the book suggested. I started with light colors, moved to dark, and reverted back to light again.
We made some fun discoveries. If we left a leaf on the gelatin and spread paint, it acted as a resist created a white leaf-shaped space in the print. If we removed the leaf and pulled another print, now it showed detailed veins in the leaf. Grace discovered positioning thick 3-D items broke the gelatin more easily than flat impressions such as leaves, but we agreed the cuts themselves created a great design feature.
Leaves and coins on vellum
Leaves and bark on lightweight watercolor paper
Leaves and bark on woven cotton fabric
Leaves and grass on 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper
Leaf, grass, and plastic Celtic mold on 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper
Leaves and grass on brown craft paper
Asian fiber paper with leaf prints wrapped around a Journal