The monoprint is made when paper is pressed to an inked printing plate resulting in a single print. These prints can be a single colour or layers of colour. The Dutch artist, Hercules Seghers, experimented with this printing method in the late 16th century. Other artists who have used the technique throughout art history include Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).
Monoprinting With Water-Based Paint
The best way to understand the concept of monoprinting is to experiment with the technique. With water-based paints and brushes, paint an original design onto Mylar plastic. Sponge a piece of paper with water, just to make it moist. Carefully lay the paper onto the painted plastic and firmly rub, in a circular motion, over the entire surface. Peel the paper from one corner to reveal the transferred image. Allow the print to dry for a finished monoprint or add additional layers of colour by repeating the process, without re-wetting the first image. Continue working with the image until it is a satisfactory composition.
Monoprinting On Fabric
The distinct aspects of the monoprint are not only the designs themselves, but also the papers and fabrics used for the finished print. Using the Plexiglas as a printing plate, use brushes to paint a design, image or motif onto the plate. Rather than printing onto paper, chose a light-coloured fabric. A fabric with a noticeable weave works nicely, as does silk. Lay the fabric over the Plexigas and firmly press the surface. As you carefully peel back the fabric, observe the variation the texture of the fabric makes.
Drawing Directly Onto the Printing Plate
Using a ink roller to apply ink, cover the Plexiglas from top to bottom. With a Popsicle stick, draw an image or design onto the inked Plexiglas plate. To create the monoprint, lay a piece of paper on the Plexiglas design and rub firmly, in a circular motion. Remove the print by peeling off the paper, beginning with one corner. Repeat the process until the result is a pleasing print suitable for display.
Drawing Directly Onto the Monoprint
Yet another Plexiglas printing plate option includes covering the surface of the Plexiglas with ink, using a ink roller. Lay a sheet of brightly coloured paper over the inked surface. Using a pencil as a drawing tool, draw a composition or design onto the paper. Do not rub firmly this time. Peel the paper beginning at a corner and the resulting print with be a transferred image of the drawing. Allow the finished print to dry completely. The resulting print is a one-of-a-kind drawing.