The beauty of monoprinting lies in its spontaneity and its allowance for combinations of printmaking, painting and drawing media.
Monoprinting is a form of printmaking that has images or lines that can only be made once, unlike most printmaking, where there are multiple originals. There are many techniques of monoprinting. Examples of standard printmaking techniques which can be used to make monoprints include lithography, woodcut, and etching.
Basically a monotype (mono means “containing just one”), is created using a printing plate (could be glass, board or plastic). A unique image is made in the ink each time. Monoprints can also be made by altering the type, color, and pressure of the ink used to create different prints.
There are three ways to do a monoprint:
The first monoprint technique is to roll out paint over the whole inking plate. Gently place a sheet of paper on it, then draw or press on the back of the sheet of paper. Remove the paper. This process can be repeated in many different colours.
This can be done positively or negatively. Working positively means that the artist will put down imagery with brushes or rollers. Working negatively means that ink is removed by scratching or wiping away.
The second monoprint technique is very similar, except you create a design in the ink before you place the paper. Roll out the paint as before. Now draw your design in the wet paint. Use a cloth or your hand to remove some ink. Gently place a sheet of paper on it, and roll or rub the the back of the paper. Remove the paper. This process can be repeated in many different colours.
The third monoprint technique is to create the image as you place the ink or paint on the surface. It will help if you have a finished image or photostat that you can place under your glass, to give you an idea as to where to apply the paint. Gently place a sheet of paper on it, and roll or rub the the back of the paper. Remove the paper.
You can continue adding paint to the glass plate in different positions and layers. Gently place a sheet of paper on it, and roll or rub the the back of the paper. Remove the paper.
The characteristic of this method is that no two prints are alike.
The beauty of this medium is also in its spontaneity and its combination of printmaking, painting and drawing media and is considered to be a very versatile method. The artist can decide to work positively or negatively.
Materials and methods
To make a monoprint or a monotype all you need is a plate and some ink. Glass works well as it is easy to wipe clean and very smooth.
- Heavy duty paper
- Ink or paint (Acrylic’s will need a slow drying medium added)