There’s more than one printing technique you can use in printmaking. One of the more popular options is planographic printing. This is a method whereby the printing and non-printing areas are at the same level. That is to say, there are no raised parts (as is the case with relief printing) or incised areas (as is the case with intaglio printing).
There are different types of planographic printing techniques, including monotype prints. In this blog, we’ll run through what that printing type is, as well as look at the other planographic techniques and other types of printing processes in more detail.
In all planographic prints, the image is made and then transferred from a flat surface. This image is first created on a “matrix,” which is another word to describe the block, plate, or other material that holds the image. The matrix is then placed on the printing recipient (such as a piece of paper). In some cases, a special machine is used to apply pressure to the matrix in order to transfer the image entirely. For other projects, hand pressure is enough.
Someone using the monotype print would create an image on a matrix and then press it onto whatever it is they want to mark. This is generally a one-time operation; once it has been transferred, that’s usually the end of the matrix. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, there’s enough ink on the matrix to create a second work. This transfer is usually a lot less clear than the first and is typically called a “ghost print.”
The clue is mainly in the name. “Mono” means “One,”; so a monotype is expected to be used only once, even though sometimes it can produce enough work.
This isn’t the only planographic printing technique available. There are four main others; lithography, cyanotype, serigraphy, and pochoir.
Lithography uses the natural process of grease repelling water to create an image. The creator uses a greasy material on a stone or plate. Then, when pressed, the drawn area attracts the ink, and the area of the stone or plate that does not have an image rejects the ink.
Cyanotype uses light chemicals to produce an image. Materials that are sensitive to light are applied to a surface. Then, the surface is left under the sun’s UV rays. Eventually, water is applied to the surface, and the image presents itself.
Serigraphy is also called screenprinting. A stencil is placed over a screen made of silk, fabric, or another material. Ink is then applied to the top, which then falls through the exposed parts of the screen to create an image.
Pochoir means stencil in French. It is typically used for hand-colouring prints.
As we’ve seen, there’s more than one way to create planographic printing! If you’re looking for a new project, pick up some supplies from King’s Framing & Art Gallery, and see what magical creation you can come up with.