Printmaking 101 :: Monotype/Monoprint

monotype, Highest Tide in June, 1, Joellyn Duesberry

Unlike all other forms of printmaking, the monotype/monoprint is an image that can only be printed once in its original state. Described as the most painterly form of printmaking, a monotype or monoprint is basically a printed painting. An artist typically uses ink to paint an image on a smooth surface such as plexiglass and then lays a piece of paper over the image, transferring the image using a press or burnishing it by hand. 

monotype, Urban Street, Sharon Finmark

The difference between monotyping and monoprinting is in the plate that is used. In monotyping the plate is perfectly smooth, with no features. In monoprinting, the plate has permanent fixtures such as lines or textures which will show in each print, though each print will vary depending on other factors that are changed. 

The beauty of monoprinting/monotyping is its spontaneous nature, which allows an artist to play with variations on a theme.

monotype, Flora, Anita S. Hunt

The process of monotype was invented by an Italian artist named Giovanni Castiglione in the 1640s. Very few other artists used the technique until Degas, who made several. He often did further work to the pieces after printing. In the twentieth century the technique rose in popularity and it is quite easy to find artists using the technique today.

monotype, Beside the Sea, Edgar Degas 1876-77

As I was researching this technique I stumbled onto the work of Martin Stankewitz, a German printmaker whose work I was immediately drawn to. Lucky for us, he has a wonderful guide which shows the technique he uses in his own work and I am happy to share it with you here. Enjoy!

Creative monotypes

I'll be back tomorrow with a fun and easy monoprint project!