Monotype or Monoprint

The first method of printmaking that I learned many years ago was monotypes. This type of printmaking uses either a plate of acrylic sheeting, or metal. An image is created on the plate by painting ink onto the plate or ink is rolled on the entire surface and then using a brush or rag to remove some. After completing the artwork, a print is pulled, transferring the ink onto paper. A hand print can be pulled using either a baron or the back of wooden spoon or a press can be used but only if the edges of the plate have been beveled. There are no permanent marks or grooves on the plate. Only one print is produced, hence monotype. Sometime there is enough remaining ink that a second “Ghost” print can be made. If you look at ” Lasso & Steer” above – the print with the very black ink is the monotype. The muted one is the ghost print.

Monoprints are not monotypes. Monoprints is a name given to a print which has a part of the design that can be repeated in another print, but some parts of the design are not easy to reproduce. Various printmaking methods can be used to create the repeated design. The not easily reproduced elements could be painted paper, inked leaves or feathers that are added on top of the plate before printing. Or drawing or painting on the printed paper would also produce a monoprint. “Bottles in the Sand” (the image on the right) – uses a drypoint plate which has the image of the bottles. These bottles can be printed again (repeated). The brown textures were made by fabric that had been rolled with ink. This is the element that is not easy to reproduce.

So there you are, three printmaking types explained monotype, ghost, and monoprint.