What is Monoprint?

A basic overview of monoprinting is that a monoprint is a one-off print technique in which an image, produced on a plate, such as a sheet of perspex, is transferred to paper.

There are 2 main techniques that we used in class the additive and subtractive technique;

  • subtractive – the sheet of perspex had paint applied with a roller, you then carefully and selectively remove or wipe and smudge areas of the paint. Paper is then directly placed over the plate and if you want you can draw on the back of the paper which will create an image on the front side of the paper (the side facing the plate) you can then put it through a press or swipe your hand over the back of the sheet to transfer the image
  • additive –  the technique is basically the same but instead of removing the paint you simply don’t (hence no subtraction but addition) so you can create your image directly on the plate.

My Monoprints:

A few examples of my experimental work in monoprinting:

20130925_101320 20130925_101453 20130925_101519 20130925_144406 20130925_144415

Artist Inspiration:

As part of my work in the world of monoprinting I had a look at what other artists are doing and discovered that Pablo Picasso also used monoprint such as that below. I’ve chosen this image as I also tried a head shot image in my work and I like works that have religious imagery in them partly due to the immense symbolism have and reverence they can receive.

PicassoPhotoPicador prev_picasso1455

Another artist I found in my research is David Scott Meier. The image below attracted me to it for the varied colour but also how it was in blocks. Plus I found the image simplistic and minimalist but also quite innocent and cartoon like.


The next artist was selected as they had used different mediums for their ‘ink’ in that they used Createx Monoprint paint in combination with watercolor paints which is something that I would like to try myself but with perhaps different mediums. Marilyn Brown created the below landscape image which I picked as I felt it was the sort of image that was very ‘noisy’. Something that I would like to do in printing is create images of aspects of anatomy which when seen far away might show what the organ is but when close up is very abstract. I like the idea of taking things out of context and that someone might see and image and think it is very beautiful but if you saw it in context would not find it attractive such as a macro photo of a flies eye.


The final artist was Robert Colquhoun. I choose the image as I did with Pablo Picasso’s as it was an image of a person and I wanted to look closer and see if there was something I could do to improve my own work.


Monoprint in Class:

I have tried print making before and not really realised what I was doing but I used crayons and paint as the wax in the crayons stopped it from ‘sticking’ and so a print could be made. The style we did in class was very different from what i’ve tried previously and it was a lot of fun, but it can be very messy and time consuming to clean afterwards or to alter my plate with a change of colours.

While I did try different paper mediums such as tissue paper, course paper and plain white sheets I wish I had tried some other mediums apart from paint as well.

we were asked to then make collages from our prints for our main books. One sample involving material, another involving creating an image from a print and the final one a mix of prints with some not stuck completely down and flat, but somewhat raised to create texture.

DSCF1781 DSCF1782 DSCF1783

The above three images show a mix of prints and raised surfaces for texture. I created them by using tissue paper to build up a few raised areas before applying the mix of prints. I wish I had chosen prints that where more contrasting as they blend a bit too much, and despite the inspiration being that of cells i still would rather there was more contrast.


My theme for this unit of work is science so inspired by human cells I created this. I like the contrast of colour to a white background.


I created this as a tree like image, plain white cotton for the trunk and one print for the background and print cut up for the leaves. I think I would like to go back and add more leaves to this and bulk out the foliage.


The inspiration continued to be cells, i stitched the prints onto fabric and with a couching stitch stitched round some of the ‘cells’ creating tendrils connecting some of them.


inspired by my ‘tree’ like image I created this leaf by stitching the print to fabric with a back stitch initially up the middle to secure it before adding the veins of the leaf with wool.

What have I learned?

  • a bit of forethought and development before making a print is essential, however experimenting is fun.
  • time management is key, especially in relation to the clean up time needed

Where do I want to go with this?

  • I plan to use some of my prints to create paper flowers, however my prints aren’t double sided so it won’t have the same effect as I initially would have liked.
  • seeing as the addition of print to textile was enjoyable I endeavour to look more closely at this and maybe use more than one material, type of thread and I would like to investigate machine stitching in addition to my hand stitching.
  • in one of my previous blog posts I mentioned the artist Josero Mussi, using him as inspiration, I think the addition of a hand embroidered image with a monoprint as a background would be an interesting mix of media.

2 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing your process and inspiration. I’ve been using monoprint too but have achieved a very different effect. I hope to do more with monoprint in the new year.

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