FEATURE

Monotype

Monotype is a way of making a unique print that cannot be repeated. Using methods from painting and drawing, ink is applied to a surface, and marks can be added or taken away from the surface.

TECHNIQUE

Monotype

Monotype is a way of making a unique print that cannot be repeated. Using methods from painting and drawing, ink is applied to a surface, and marks can be added or taken away from the surface.

The passing of the inked plate through the press with dampened paper creates a kind of magic – a transformation of ink, colour and mark that cannot be created any other way.

Monotype is used more and more in its own right. Unlike more traditional printmaking methods only one print is made each time, however it is possible to build sequences of images with a relationship to each other and to allow one print to lead into the next. It is a brilliant medium for bringing printmaking together with drawing and painting, it can be fast and instinctive or planned and exact. It gives artists a unique exploratory tool for experimentation and development of contemporary ideas.

Monotype is attractive to artists as it is a low-impact method of printing, possible without the use of chemicals or expensive materials, and recycled materials can be easily incorporated into the process.

More printmaking techniques

Aquatint

Fine resin dust is applied to the surface of the etching plate, then melted from underneath to melt and harden the dots of resin. When immersed in acid the plate ‘bites’ between the aquatint resin dots, creating a distribution of tiny holes on the plate which print as a tone.

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Carborundum

Abrasive carborundum grit (silicon carbide) is mixed with acrylic medium or glue and painted onto a flat surface, such as plastic or metal.

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Etching

Etching was originally invented as a method for adding decoration to armour during the Middle Ages. Artists began to use metal plates for printing in the 15th century, when Albrecht Durer made work on iron plates. Later artists such as Andrea Mantegna in Italy and Rembrandt in Holland went on to make etchings on copper.

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More Features

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“Revealing the unknown is always the thing I’m interested in”

SooMin Leong’s practice focuses on the transition from one place to another, both through literal journeys and the many stages that go into making her prints. Each is a story informed by the experience and impression of travelling. We interviewed her about her own journey into printmaking.

Artist:
SooMin Leong

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Glossary

Printmaking involves many specialist techniques, processes and tools. We hope our glossary will help guide you through the subject. New entries added monthly.

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Soft ground

Soft ground was invented in the latter half of the eighteenth century as a means of reproducing the grainy qualities of chalk work. It was first used in England by Gainsborough and artists of the Norwich School.

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