What is a MONOTYPE?

Monotype is a form of printmaking. It is much like other forms of printmaking, such as etching, relief printing and lithography, in that for the most part the image is not made directly on paper, but rather on a plate of some sort. Then, using a printing press, the image is tranferred to a sheet of paper. Unlike other forms of printmaking, monotypes are unique. Each image can be printed from a plate only once. The same image can be run through the press more than once, but each time the result is very different, thereby making each print unique.

Elisabeth makes her images on a large sheet of thick plastic. She applies inks to this sheet using rollers, rags, putty knives or anything she finds that can be used to good effect. She then uses any of an almost limitless number of techniques to modify the image. She will rub ink off the plate using all sorts of tools, she blocks areas with torn or cut bits of paper, plastic or any flat material. She draws on it using brush handles, combs, knives or, again, anything she feels she can use effectively. When she is satisfied with what she has done, she runs it through the press, transferring the image to a sheet of fine quality, heavyweight, 100% rag printmakers' paper.

The print could be considered finished at this stage, but most often, this is only the begining of the process. She frequently pulls a second print from the same plate, one that is significantly fainter than the first print. She will then, more often than not, prepare another plate with the objective of printing this plate directly over one or both of the prints she has just done. The pairs (or even trios) of base prints may be overlayed with the same image or with completely different images. This process may be repeated any number of times until Elisabeth is satisfied with the resulting image. In her latest work, Elisabeth has begun adding hand-drawn and/or paintied elements to her prints. The print is then signed, titled (for identification purposes) and numbered. The prints are all numbered 1/1 even though they may be based on the same base plate because even though many prints may share elements, they are each unique, one of an edition of one.