What Is a Monotype? (A Simple Definition of Monotype Prints & the Monotype Printmaking Process)

What Is a Monotype in Art?

A monotype is a work of art that is created by painting or drawing on a smooth surface, such as a glass, plastic, or metal printing plate, and then transferring the image to another surface, such as paper, canvas, or fabric. The resulting image is a one-of-a-kind work of art.

In Latin, mono means one and type means kind (one-of-a-kind). You only get one print (one-of-a-kind) from the whole monotype printing process.

There are several benefits to creating monotypes. One is that they offer a unique way to create an image. Another benefit is that they can be created quickly and easily, making them ideal for experimentation.

What Is the Monotype Printmaking Process?

Monotypes can be made by anyone who has access to the necessary materials. All that is required is a flat surface on which to work and something to make a single, unique impression of the original image onto the final surface.

The most common type of monotype is made by using a printing press, but it is also possible to make them without one.

Here’s a video of the traditional monotype printing process, plus a look at the final product.

Monotype Printmaking

Here are the basic steps of how professional artists create monotypes.

Monotype printmaking is a form of printmaking that uses only one printing plate to create a unique image.

The image is created by painting directly onto the plate, or by using various techniques to apply ink or paint to the surface.

The artist can also quickly rub and scratch parts of the paint or ink off the plate to create the artwork. They can also add texture by adding materials like leaves, stencils, fabrics, etc, on top and/or under the painting.

While the painting is still wet, and with the painted side up, the plate is now placed on the bed of a rolling printing press. It’s then covered with a flat sheet of damp paper and a set of printing blankets (used to soften the pressure on the printing plate).

The plate is then moved through the press, the damp paper is pressed completely against the printing plate, and the artwork appears (in reverse) on the paper.

There’s been an increase use of gel printing plates being used to make monotypes. This type of plate let’s you make a monotype print easily without needing a printing press.

Are Monotypes Valuable?
  1. First, monotypes that are signed by the artist are generally more valuable than those that are not. This is because signed pieces are rarer, and therefore more sought-after by collectors.
  2. Another factor that can affect the value of monotype prints is the artist who created it. If the artist is well-known and respected, their monotypes will usually be worth more money.
  3. Monotypes that are part of a series or edition are also typically more valuable than standalone pieces. This is because they are often seen as being more complete works of art, and thus more desirable.
  4. Monotypes that have been exhibited or published in some way are usually more valuable than those that have not. This is because they have been given some level of validation by the art world, and thus are seen as being more “legitimate” works of art.
  5. Another factor that can increase the value of monotype prints is the age of the print. Older monotypes are often more valuable than newer ones because they are more rare.
  6. Finally, the condition of the print can also impact its value. Monotypes that are in good condition and have been properly stored will usually be worth more than those that have been damaged or mishandled.
Overview: What Does Monotype Mean?

A monotype is a type of print made by transferring an image from a smooth surface onto paper. The image can be transferred using a variety of methods, but the most common is by passing a sheet of damp paper over an inked plate. The resulting print is called a monotype.

Monotypes are unique, one-of-a-kind prints. They cannot be reproduced exactly, making each one special and valuable.

Monotypes are also versatile; they can be used as stand-alone artworks or incorporated into mixed media pieces.

There are many benefits to owning monotype prints. First, they are affordable and easy to frame. Second, they add instant visual interest to any room. Third, they make great conversation starters!

Thank you for reading!