Monotype printing (or monoprint) is characterized by playfulness, spontaneity, and a sense of discovery that draws you into the creative process. It’s been a go-to method for the likes of Matisse, Picasso, Klee & Diebenkorn – each pursuing techniques that would suit his own style. No matter who the artist, there is that ‘Ta-Dah’ moment – the magic that happens when you run your plate and paper through the press and reveal the fresh print.
Monotype is a printmaking process used to create one-of-a-kind images with ink on paper. Often referred to as the “painterly print,” a monotype is a painted plate versus an etching or lithograph whose image is chemically etched or scratched into the surface. There is a simplicity that attracts the artist, yet the final piece can be quite complex. It is an accessible medium for beginners but challenging and rewarding for a professional artist.
In my workshops, I introduce a variety of techniques – additive, subtractive, collage, photo transfer, stencil, etc. – then allow everyone to experiment and follow their creative path. The artist applies ink to an acrylic plate with brushes, brayers, and textural elements, then the adding and subtracting of the ink begins. Once your image is ready to print, damp paper is placed over the plate and both are run thru the etching press, transferring image to paper. This is not a class where everyone’s work looks the same, and I am always pleasantly surprised by the amazing variety of works produced.
You can create a finished print with one run thru the press – or you can add multiple layers of ink, building up additional color and information. Although I encourage students to come with an idea to start, the best result comes with the willingness to allow the image to evolve. The work can range from abstract to figurative, and from very colorful to a rich black and white. For artists, like painters or sculptors, whose work is time intensive, creating monotypes offers instant gratification and some beautiful work to add to their portfolio.
I have always loved the printmaking studio – a communal space where artists create and share. And ever since my first introduction in college, I have had a passion for ink and paper. After I moved from California to Mexico, I began teaching workshops in my Mazatlán studio, then offered Art Vacation/Print Workshops in Oaxaca, Guanajuato, and Lima, Peru. I now teach workshops out of my studio in San Miguel de Allende and offer Monday night print sessions to those with previous experience as a way to continue using the press.
For more information on workshops and to see my monotype prints: www.glenrogersart.com