As I went around the Tracey Emin exhibit ‘Love is what you want’ at Hayward Gallery (2011), the thing that caught my eye were the “monoprints” (or perhaps they are “monotypes” – the two words are apparently not interchangeable). Time for a little research!

What is a “monoprint”?

Immediately came across a website devoted to monoprinting (thanks Google!): which describes the technique as “the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques, a monoprint is a non-editionable kind of print and is essentially a printed painting”.

And by the way, monotypes are the one-of-kind prints (then the plate is prepared to do another single image, hence, “mono” = one, and “type” = print) and with monoprints the pattern is repeated more than once, i.e., the maker “uses etched plates or some kind of pattern such as lace, leaves, fabric or even rubber gaskets, to add texture. In this case, having a repeated pattern, we have a monoprint”.

So now, this is something I’m keen to try though I don’t know that I really have the right equipment at home – monotyping/printing basically involves ink (or paint), a flat smooth surface, paper and some kind of stylus. And for the ink, one needs a rubber roller called a “brayer” to spread the ink evenly.

Essdee lino print set includes ink tray, brayer, baren, cutting tools, and a couple pieces of lino.
Essdee lino print set includes ink tray, brayer, baren, cutting tools, and a couple pieces of lino.

So I found this basic lino printing set in Atlantis the magical art materials warehouse in East London, that utterly fits its namesake. (Pro tip: This shop is highly recommended due to its great variety, decent prices, and student discount but go with a specific budget/project in mind or you might come out with 15 more things than you need).

[Update: 12 January 2016] I finally got around to trying making my own monotypes (I only made one print at a time, confusing I know), which was quite fun albeit very inky and I can immediately see the possibilities for layering colours, images, and patterns:

There is a lot here to please a person who loves to draw and wants to paint. Looking forward to doing more!

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