Monotype Printmaking

Waiting for Rain 8.5 x 7.5 Monotype

What is a Monotype Print?

What is a Monotype Print?

A monotype is a hand-pulled art print, created with pigment alone (usually printmaking ink) on a smooth plate (usually metal, acrylic or glass) that is pressed against paper (usually printmaking paper) to transfer the pigments from the plate to the paper. The root word ‘mono” means one, because you get a single print. This printmaking method results in a single, printed, original art image. Monotypes are not editionable the way relief or intaglio prints are. There are no repeatable mark-making elements in the plate – like incised lines, or adhered shapes. There are no repeatable mark-making elements laid in the ink, such as stencils, or organic materials like leaves, etc. The design of a monotype is made with manipulated pigments alone, and therefore it is considered a very painterly form of singular image printmaking.

How to Make a Monotype

Here is a monotype printmaking tutorial video on my youtube channel. The monotype process demonstrated there – with the resulting print above – is a perfect first monotype printmaking project if you don’t have a press, or a whole day to play with ink. (Sign up to be notified when my online Monotype Printmaking class series is released here.) In the demo you see in this post, a single color of ink is rolled out directly on a table covered with a sheet of plexiglass. If you don’t have plexiglass, you can roll your ink out on a sheet of drafting film, or yupo paper, or a piece of glass from a photo frame, taped down to a table with masking tape or duck tape to cover the sharp edges. The back of a paint brush handle is used in the demo to sketch shapes into the wet printmaking ink, and the art-making process is off and running from there. The reference photo I used for this demo was snapped by my father-in-law in the 1950’s in Scottsdale, Arizona, where it almost never rains. Use a photo you like, with simple shapes in light and dark. Avoid lots of detail in your first monotype.

Supplies to start monotype printmaking

Monotype Printmaking Video Tutorials

You can watch the video below, or click here to watch it directly on my channel. There are five other monotype tutorials posted over there, so have a look if you think you’d like to experiment with this painterly form of printmaking. And if you’d like to take my online course on monotype printmaking, sign up here to be notified as soon as the course is published!

Rolling printmaking ink on a glass slab to make a monotype
Using cotton swabs to remove ink in a subtractive process to make a dark field monotype
After pressing paper to the wet ink, pulling the monotype
Waiting for the ink to dry on a monotype so I can add colored pencil (or any other media)

Helpful Monotype Printmaking Posts from this blog

Tools to make a Monotype

Monotype Tutorial Videos

More Monotype Supplies

Monotype Reference Books

Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Happy Making,

P.S. You can sign up here to subscribe and get each new post via email as soon as it’s published.

P.P.S. You can join the Monotype Printmaking Group on Facebook, and share your work there for feedback!