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WHAT IS A MONOPRINT?

Known as the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques, a monoprint is a non editionable kind of print and is essentially a printed painting.

The characteristic of this method is that no two prints are alike. However, images can be similar, but editioning is not possible. The true appeal of the monoprint (as well as monotype) lies in the unique translucency that creates a quality of light very different from a painting on paper or a print, and the beauty of this media is also in its spontaneity and its combination of printmaking, painting and drawing mediums.

  • Read about the history and development of monoprints

  • Monoprints vs Monotypes: very similar names yet different approaches and outcomes

  • Printmaking techniques - an overview

    Etching

    Etching is an intaglio printmaking process in which lines are produced by using acid onto a metal plate which is then inked and printed using an etching press.

    Engraving

    Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto metal using a cutting tool called burin. Unlike lines produced in an etching, engraved lines are cleaner and crisper.

    Aquatint

    This is a variant of etching: it does not produce line work but tonal work. It is often used in combination with etching and/or engraving to add tone and value.

    Drypoint

    This technique is unique in its production of linework which appears "feathery" as opposed to engraved lines which are crisp and neat. No acid is involved as lines are produced by scratching the plate with a needle.

    Silkscreen

    Also known as serigraphy, this technique involves printing ink through stencils to create prints.

    Woodblock/linocutting

    Woodblock involves carving wood to reveal an image which can be printed by hand. Linocutting is a variant of woodblock: the matrix is made of linoleum and is easier to carve into.

    Lithography

    Lithography is a printing process that uses a flat stone or metal plate onto which the image is drawn using a greasy crayon. Non printing areas are made ink-repellent by a chemical reaction.

    Collagraph

    A really versatile process to create prints which involves gluing textured surfaces onto a board which is then inked and printed.

    Photogravure

    Woodblock involves using a piece of flad wood which is carved to reveal an image which can be printed by hand. Linocutting is a variant of woodblock: the matrix is made of linoleum and is easier to carve into.

    Mezzotint

    A really unique way of creating prints with soft gradations of tone and rich velvety blacks. No acid is involved: the plate is worked with a tool called a rocker which produces a rough surface which is then smoothed out and polished to reveal an image.

    Pochoir

    This is a direct method of coloring a print, which involves using stencils and avoids creating an additional plate for adding color.

    Monoprints/monotypes

    The most painterly methods to create artwork which is spontaneous and does not require technical practices.


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    VIDEO gallery

    How to make a monotype

    Short video to understand the simple yet interesting process of direct tracing to create a monotype

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