Home

What is a Monotype?
Share

What is a Monotype?

A Monotype Party, 1897 monotype by Corwin Knapp Linson
A Monotype Party, 1897 monotype by Corwin Knapp Linson

You’ll find the word “monotype” everywhere in our catalog, but do you know what it is?

A monotype is a print, but with one major difference from other printmaking processes: the artist creates exactly one print, instead of multiples (called editions). This is due to the way a monotype is made.

To make a monotype, the artist applies paint or ink directly onto the plate — which can be metal, glass, plexiglas, or even gelatin. The plate is pressed against the paper to transfer the ink. (So the finished print is a mirror image of what’s on the plate.) The printing can be done with a printing press or sometimes by hand.

A monotype by Art League instructor Mike Francis (click for full size)
A monotype by Art League instructor Mike Francis (click for full size)

It’s a simple process that allows for lots of experimentation and variation. The artist can create layered prints, use objects as masks between plate and paper, or selectively apply pressure to create a trace monotype. After the first print is pulled, there will be some ink left on the plate for a second, fainter ghost print.

(To learn about a related term, monoprint, read our Q&A with artist Katherine Rand.)

The Fireside, monotype by Edgar Degas, 1876–77.

Want to give it a try? We have classes and workshops on monotypes throughout the year! Just search our catalog for the word “monotype.”

The 2014 Monotype Party. Photo by Francis Hipschen.
The 2014 Monotype Party. Photo by Francis Hipschen.

Can't get enough?

Sign up for our weekly blog newsletter, subscribe to our RSS feed, or like us on Facebook for the latest Art League news. Visit our homepage for more information about our classes, exhibits, and events in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

Share this
Welcome to Artful Weekend -our listing of area art exhibits and events- This weekend: June 2024 Landscape Exhibit, Dimensions 2024, and Prismatic Motion by…
Every week we gather a variety of artist opportunities from the DC area and beyond. Find one below and apply today — good luck! Click…
Every week we gather a variety of artist opportunities from the DC area and beyond. Find one below and apply today — good luck! Click…
Welcome to Artful Weekend -our listing of area art exhibits and events- This weekend: May 2024 Open Exhibit and Cape Cod Waters: Photographs by Meg Clarke at…
Every week we gather a variety of artist opportunities from the DC area and beyond. Find one below and apply today — good luck! Click…
Welcome to Artful Weekend -our listing of area art exhibits and events- This weekend: May 2024 Open Exhibit and Cape Cod Waters: Photographs by Meg Clarke at…

Did you know?

You can support The Art League every time you shop through AmazonSmile!

Simply set The Art League as your chosen charity, and every time you shop at smile.amazon.com, a portion of your purchase will be donated to support our mission to share the experience of visual arts with the community.