Printmaking is an art medium that has grown in popularity within the last century. There are many forms of printmaking which range in complexity yet all forms are based on the same principle: transferring an image from a matrix onto a transferring base.
The printmaker draws, etches or carves an image onto a printing matrix - such as a stone or a metal plate. The matrix is then coated with ink, covered with a transferring base - such as paper or fabric - and then printed with a roller press or a hand press. The resulting print is often identical to the image first put onto the matrix.
Numerous copies can be made from one matrix. A printmaker may use this art medium for solely artistic purposes or for commercial productions. The fine art print is an original work of art in the same way a canvas or watercolour is an original work of art. The difference is that the print usually has a very small edition of the same image whereas the canvas or watercolour is one-of-a-kind. The fine art print tends to be produced in small numbers, ideally not exceeding an edition size of 100.
Monoprint, Monotype Printing
The monotype or monoprint occupies a space between painting and the graphic arts, the proofs being a unique, and not an identical replica of an original picture.
But because these proofs are indirectly produced and printed on paper, and because an artist usually turns out an edition of several copies or versions of the same subject, monotypes are generally classified among the graphic arts. The print usually displays accidental effects, and only approximate results are expected in the making of duplicates.
The usual monotype is a painted on a rigid surface such as a metal plate, glass or plexi-glass using any convenient medium which does not dry too rapidly such as oil or watercolour paint. The painting is created freely or following a transferred outline drawing.