Monotype Prints

Printmaking Family

'Blossoms'' Monotype


From : "Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America" by Joann Moser, 1997.

The monotype is a hybrid printmaking process in which a drawing or painting executed on a flat, unworked printing plate or other surface is transferred through pressure to a sheet of paper.

In its purest and simplest form, a monotype is made by drawing with printer’s ink or oil paint on a smooth surface such as glass or a metal plate, then transferring the image to paper before it dries, using a printing press or other means of pressure, ranging from the back of a spoon, a Japanese barren, or a roller to the palm of the hand or even the wringer of an old washing machine.

Because most of the image is transferred in the printing process, only one strong impression can be taken, hence the term monotype (one print).

Additional impressions of the residual image are sometimes printed, but they are significantly fainter than the first pull. The residual image can be reworked with additional ink or paint to create another impression related to, but different from, the original image.
'Mouline Rouge' Lithograph


Lithography is the printmaking technique invented by Senefelder in Germany in 1796, a technique that takes advantage of the repulsion between oil and water to transfer an image from a smooth limestone surface to a sheet of printmaking paper.

The development of the lithographic image consists of drawing or painting with greasy crayons and inks on limestone that has been ground down to a flat, smooth block. After several subsequent manipulations, the stone is moistened with water, wetting the sections not covered by the crayon and leaving the areas of the greasy drawing dry as grease repels water.

Oil-based ink is then applied with a roller and is repelled by the wet parts of the stone. The print made by pressing paper against the inked drawing is an autographic replica, in reverse, of the original drawing on stone.
'Hare' Dürer Etching


A metal plate (zinc or copper) is coated with an acid-resisting wax or ‘ground’ that the artist draws into with a variety of tools, removing the ground from the areas that are to print black.

The plate is immersed in an acid bath, which ‘bites out’ or “etches” the exposed areas. The etched plate is then inked and the surface is wiped clean, leaving ink only in the etched depressions. Finally, the plate is run through a press with dampened paper and the pressure of the press (500 – 1000 lbs) forces the paper into the etched areas of the plate, transferring the ink onto the paper. The most prominent artist – and the greatest etcher of all time - was Rembrandt.
Kawase Hasui - Woodblock

Woodblock or Woodcut Printmaking

Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China as a method of printing on textiles and later paper.

The woodblock is the art of engraving on wood by hollowing out with chisels areas of a plank of usually cherry wood, pear, apple or boxwood, leaving a design on the surface. The transfer of this design onto paper is then achieved by inking the surface with typographic ink and applying pressure with a press or by hand with a baren.

The woodcut technique was used primarily for decorating textiles in China as early as the 5th century AD and by the 15th century in Europe it was applied to religious images and playing cards. The finest exponents of the woodcut in 16th-century Europe were the Germans, Albrect Dürer, Hans Holbein and Lucas Cranach.

The Japanese, traditional masters of the woodcut, especially with the Ukioye prints, are acknowledged as very important forerunners of much of the printmaking work done by westerners throughout the 20th century.
Roy Lichtenstein - Silkscreen

Silk screen or "serigraphy"

Silk screen or "serigraphy" (as it prefers to be known in fine-art circles) originated in China and found its way to the West in the 15th century. It's a stencil process based on the porosity of silk (nylon or other screen fabric) which allows ink to pass through the areas which are not "stopped" with glue or varnish.

One or more layers of ink are applied with a squeegee, each one covering the open areas of succeeding screens until the final composite image is achieved. Photographic transfers, both in line and halftone, can also be fixed to the screen with a light-sensitive emulsion.

Serigraphy took on the status of art in the late 30's in the United States when a group of artists working with the Federal Art Project experimented with the technique and subsequently formed the National Serigraphic Society to promote its use.

It is currently popular both in fine arts and in commercial printing, where it is commonly used to print images on T-shirts, hats, CDs, DVDs, ceramics, glass, polyethylene, polypropylene, paper, metals, and wood.