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Monoprinting – what is it?


Monoprinting in progress

Stencil monoprint using leaves and found objects in progress


Monoprinting.  What is it?

Its my favourite printmaking technique!  Monoprinting was the first printing technique I tried more than 15 years ago and I was hooked instantly.

Monoprinting allows me to freely experiment with colour, textures and shape.  I love its spontaneity and the element of surprise it offers.

So what is it?

Monoprinting is one form of printmaking. Unlike most printmaking methods, where multiple identical copies are created from a single matrix (such as a woodblock or an etching plate), monoprinting yields only a single print, hence the name “mono.”

Here’s how monoprinting typically works:

Plate Preparation: A smooth surface, often a metal, glass or plastic plate, is used as the printing surface. This plate is then coated with printing ink.

Image Creation: The artist creates an image on the inked plate using various techniques, such as painting, drawing, stencilling, or even placing objects on the plate. This image can be highly detailed or more abstract, depending on the artist’s intent.

Printing: Once the image is ready, a piece of paper is carefully placed on top of the inked plate. Pressure is applied to transfer the image from the plate onto the paper. This can be done using a press, a hand-held tool, or even by hand rubbing, depending on the specific monoprinting method used.

Unique Outcome: Because of the manual and often unpredictable nature of the process, each print created through monoprinting is unique. Even if the artist attempts to recreate a similar image, there will be variations in the final result due to the characteristics of the inks, the pressure applied, and the individual choices made during the process.

I specialise in stencil monoprinting, using leaves, found objects and handmade stencils to create my imagery.  Other forms of monoprinting combine traditional printmaking processes with more painterly and drawing-based techniques.


You can make your own stencils in paper or plastic to make interesting imagery and textures in your monoprints


Monoprinting plate with leaves and objects after printing

You can use leaves, grasses and other plant materials to create printed images, no drawing required in this Stencil Monoprinting technique


Monoprinting plate in progress

This monoprinting plate is ready to print on an etching press


Artist holding completed Monoprints

Resulting prints look similar but are never identical as they would in an editioned printmaking technique like lino or etching.  Each time the monoprinting plate is used, its a new composition.


You can learn monoprinting techniques at the Art from the Urban Wilderness Studio, including stencil monoprinting and gelatine/gel plate printing.  Both are great techniques for those new to printmaking or for those wanting to loosen up.

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