I am a painter. However, the process of creating a monotype intrigues me and I enjoy it a lot. Monotypes are pulled impressions that were drawn or painted on a metal or plexiglass plate. The images are created through applications of ink that are rolled, brushed, daubed or otherwise applied and manipulated and then, with the material, usually paper, that is to accept an impression, are “pulled” with the use of a press.
The outcome is unique and only one or two impressions may be pulled before the ink is used up. If there’s enough ink to print a second impression, it will be quite different from the first due to the ink being lifted from the plate in its first pass through the press. The second impression, called a ghost, is much lighter or thinner. Each pulled impression are a finished work, however, it may be further enhanced by the application of additional drawing or color. In that case, the technique will become a mixed media.
You can be as creative as you want during the monotype process which may be misleading, but discipline, knowledge and artistry are prerequisites. The average time an artist spends creating a monotype varies, but it is the combined years of experience, knowledge of an artist and printer, and from 45 minutes up to 2 hours of execution that leads to a completed piece. All of the techniques and elements of making monotypes, the amount of pressure from the press, the kind of inks and oils used, how they are applied, etc, require tremendous skills. Artist can use any tool such as sponges, scrapers, fingers, cloth, toothbrushes, etc in order to create different effects that can’t be achieved with any other technique.
There are three main methods for making a monotype:
The additive or light-field method, in which the image is painted by adding or building up pigment onto the plate.
The subtractive or dark-field method where the entire plate is covered with a thin layer of pigment. The artist then works out his image by removing some of the pigment with brushes, rags, sticks, or other tools.
The third method is a combination of the two.
The following techniques are not as common as the other ones. Collage monoprints The term collage is not used in its traditional meaning; materials are not glued on the surface but are used on the paper either inked or not inked (only used to produce embossments on paper). Materials often used are cut or torn shapes from textured papers, lace, cloth, thin vinyl sheets, leaves, and even metal grating. Chine Colle’ This method requires the use of two kinds of paper: one durable which serves as a base of the print and one which is really lightweight such as Japanese papers. The image is printed onto the Japanese paper which is glued on the more durable paper. Frottage Magazine or newspaper images can be easily transferred to a print by the simple but effective frottage method. Any image, whether color or black and white can be used; better results can be obtained with recently printed materials.
Monica-Gisel “La Otra”Follow us!