Friday, June 14, 2013

Monotype v. Monoprint

Artist Ron Pokrasso explained the difference between monotype and monoprint for us in the workshop since there is so much confusion around these terms.

Monotype is a technique, while monoprint is a concept.

Let me explain.

A monotype is a technique that uses a smooth plate made of plastic or metal to transfer ink to paper. The plate has no texture, no incised lines, no etching. You don't even need a press to transfer ink to paper. Some do not even consider it to be a true printmaking process since you cannot duplicate a monotype.
Each impression from the smooth plate will be unique.

Two Monotype plates ready for printing; the light
image on the left will be printed 1st as an under-painting. 
So why not just paint or draw on a piece of paper? Because by transferring the image from a hard substrate to the paper, you get transparencies of ink color and a quality of line and mark-making that cannot be duplicated by just painting on paper. Monotypes have a wonderful layered quality that can be very complex. A monotype can be simple and spontaneous or as long and involved as any oil painting; however, it takes great skill to be able to manipulate the ink without ending up with a whole lot of mud on a piece of paper. You can create a monotype using multiple plates, so their are layers of color and line.

A monoprint is one of a series of prints. There is a commonality to each impression, yet, each is unique but more like a variation on a theme rather than totally new image. That commonality is the underlying image from an etched plate, or other printmaking plate or stone.
See the similarity in these two images? They use the same Solarplate. They are part of  a series and are both monoprints. 
"Fig. 20, Friendly Aliens will Save Us, Orange Crop Circle"
"Fig. 20, Friendly Aliens will Save Us, The Glow Beneath". 

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