What is the difference between a monotype and a monoprint?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In art each print process has different charactersitic linear and textural qualities, with distinctive possibilities of expression. Painters have often used printmaking as a means of working out problems that they have encountered in their painting. A monotype, or decalcomania print, the impression taken from a design painted on a flat surace, has, for instance, provided the beginning point for some paintings. For example, painters have used monotype methods to experiment with various tones and color schemes by means of painting over a preparatory sketch placed beneath a sheet of clear glass and then taking impression to be worked over in their pictures.

The key to understanding the difference between the two processes of monotype and monoprint is in their names: The monotype is a unique original that is taken from a design painted on a non-absorbent place. Each time a monotype is made, a clean etched plate is used.

On the other hand, the monoprint suggests more than one of some part with the word print attached to mono-; in other words, there is a pattern or an image in part that is repeated with each print. Frequently artists will create some kind of pattern such as leaves, lace, or even fabric on the etched plate that is repeated in a monoprint. But, when the picture on the plate is completed, it is run through a printing press, with dampened rag paper to form a unique print. Hence, the prefix mono-. Essentially, a monoprint is a printed painting.

Such painters as Degas, Whistler and Monet were influenced by Japanese woodblock prints,and have combined multi-media prints in their works.

booklearning eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another type of monoprint can be produced by painting an image on glass and then pressing that plate of glass on paper or canvas. The name monoprint, in this case denotes that inherent in the technique used, one can print the image  only one time.