What is a monotype?

A monotype is a one-off print. It is essentially a simple process of painting an image on a surface, such as an etching plate or an acrylic sheet etc. Once the image is complete, the plate is printed like a conventional print.

A sheet of dampened paper is placed on the plate and it is run through a printing press.

Unlike ordinary prints where an edition is made, monotypes only produce one print. A monotype is a unique image, not capable of being printed in an edition.

A monoprint differs from a monotype in that a fixed image is made on the plate, like an etching for example, but this is manipulated with inks to produce a range of different effects for each print. I work on acrylic or metal plates and use Charbonell etching inks.

The appeal of monotypes, for me at least, is the improvisation one can employ and the rich painterly effects that can be achieved. I find the process both exhilarating and exhausting — an image will never look the way you expect when printed. This produces delightful surprises and frustrating disappointments.