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 gelatine. 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.
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.
The cow parsley print above is an example of a "ghost print" which was pulled from the residue left on the gelatin plate and then further layers of paint added. Its a very exciting process to use and there is always an element of the unexpected! The best prints are a combination of controlled techniques and with added elements of surprise.
MMDesign was founded by Maureen Mitchell in 2009 and has been building up a clientele from websites and various trade events.