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What is a Monotype print?

Cape Palette View from front

In printmaking, a monotype is a unique print that is created by applying ink or paint to a plate and then transferring the image onto paper or another material. Unlike other types of printmaking, such as etching or lithography, a monotype does not involve creating a matrix that can be used to produce multiple copies of the same image.

Clare Menck

The process of creating a monotype involves starting with a smooth plate made of glass, metal, or plastic. Ink or paint is then applied to the plate, and the artist can use various tools to create the desired image. This can include using brushes, rollers, or even fingers to spread and manipulate the ink or paint on the plate. Once the image is complete, the plate is carefully placed on a printing press, and a piece of paper is laid over the inked surface. The paper is then rolled through the press, which applies pressure to transfer the ink or paint from the plate onto the paper. The resulting image is a one-of-a-kind print that cannot be duplicated.

Johann Booyens

Monotypes are often valued for their unique qualities, as they can capture subtle variations in texture and tone that are difficult to achieve with other printmaking techniques. They are also popular among artists who enjoy experimenting with different materials and techniques, as the process allows for a great deal of creative freedom and spontaneity. 

We represent many artists that use this special printmaking method in our gallery and on our website.  Feel free to contact us if you like to learn more about them.

Ig Terblanche


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