What is a Monotype and Why Would You Want to Make One?

I love this process!  “It’s a printing process where the artist doesn’t have to worry about all of the “technical” aspects of printmaking and can instead concentrate on being creative. Energy, improvisation, gesture, impulse and chance are all characteristics of this printing process. It is the most “painterly” and immediately rewarding technique available for creating works on paper.” History of the Monotype by William Jung

Basically, the process involves applying pigmented ink to a flat, smooth surface called a plate which is typically made out of Plexiglas or some other acrylic sheeting.  Ink can be applied with a roller, called a brayer, and then removed with brush, Q-tips, fingers, rubber spatulas, Color Shapers, etc.  Ink can also be applied with all of those tools, skipping the brayer. Then the plate is placed upside down on a sheet of paper and run through the press to transfer the image. The beauty of the process is that you can do the composing on the plate, wiping it clean or partially so if it’s not shaping up the way you want it too.  It’s a reductive process. It can be repeated for added layering. “Collaged” shapes can be placed on top of the inked plate to block some of the color from being transferred.  They can also be inked in a different color to create a stencil to add to the composition.  Layers of transfers can be made and the “ghost” image left on the plate can also be printed.  At that paint further painting, printing, drawing or collaging can occur.

To me it’s the most freeing form of art making.

Here is a link to a You-Tube video that is almost 10 minutes long and a little boring, but if you want to see a very immediate working style, it’s worth watching (especially if you are taking the workshop): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZWKwglLcG0   You can fast forward through this to watch this artist at work.  I like his style—very messy. He uses many techniques that are worth seeing.

Here is another link advertising the ink, but show a more controlled, less interesting, application of the technique but with very nice results achieved quickly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajx3d7PTm68 It’s only 3 minutes long.

If you’re coming to the workshop you will benefit by watching both of these. They will give you ideas of how you might want to approach the process.  Don’t worry about any on the printing techniques, Bill will teach you that part and he will assist.

We’ll try this in class some time again, but it won’t be nearly as effective without a press.

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