Monotype is a print process that uses a combination of painting and printmaking techniques, resulting in a one-off printed image. It is created first on a clean, flat surface, such as the back of an etching plate, with oil-based ink or paint, and then transferred to the paper. When I make a monotype, I use an offset litho press. I paint directly onto the metal bed of the press, using inks thinned with white spirit or oil. I often start with a rolled background of colour, over which I paint the image.
When the handle of the press is turned, the roller passes over the painted inks, transferring the image to the rubber blanket on the roller, which in turn is transferred to the paper. More ink is painted on the surface of the press, and the image is developed a layer at a time by repeating the transfer process.
Unlike many printing techniques, the image from an offset litho press is not reversed when printed. Although it’s a print, the image is unique and cannot be repeated as there are no permanent marks on the printing surface that would allow another impression.