Monotypes are “one of a kind” impressions.
The artist creates an image on a smooth surface, such as an acrylic plate. The image can be developed by using paint, ink and other media, and by working with brushes, rolling ink with brayers, wiping and scraping the surface, and using stencils and other objects to create shape, pattern and texture.
When the image is ready to be printed, the plate is placed on the press bed and a piece of damp paper is laid over the plate. The pressure of the etching press “lifts” the image from the plate and transfers it to the paper. Typically, only one image comes from this form of print: hence its name, “monotype.”
However, some artists are able to pull a second impression, usually lighter than the first, called a “ghost image”. Often monotype artists work in series, creating a body of prints that are similar in subject matter but each slightly different in treatment.