Monoprinting is a simple, direct type of printmaking that lends itself to a spontaneous, painterly approach to image making. Unlike other forms of printmaking, it results in only a single, unique print, with no exact duplicates or multiple editions possible.
First, oil or water based ink is applied to a blank zinc, copper or Plexiglas plate, and then manipulated to create the desired image. Ink is either added or removed, often with a variety of tools, brushes, and rags.
Once the printmaker decides the plate is ready it is placed face up on the press bed, and covered with a sheet of rag paper. The inked plate and paper are then overlaid with felt blankets and cranked through the press under high pressure. Once printed and clear of the rollers, the print is peeled away from the plate. In the printing process the ink is transferred to the paper, leaving the plate almost clean – which is why there is no chance for a second print.
Many prints use several runs through the press, creating a deep atmosphere and intense colours. For each run, the plate needs to be re-inked, re-worked, and perfectly registered with the previous runs. – Marty Levenson