Monoprints or Monotypes are single unique images made by printing. They are a drawing or painting on a plate ( metal, plastic or glass) transferred through printing onto damp paper using an etching press. The difference from an etching or wood engraving is that the surface of the plate is not cut into, so the drawing is just ink painted on the surface and gets wiped away after each impression is taken. (Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) created some 300-500 monotypes and he called them "painted drawings").
On the one hand it is a very free way of working but on the other, only one print can be taken. Actually a second print is possible, and at a stretch, a third, but it is naturally very pale and is called a Ghost Print. However if the plate is reworked carefully another print with different results can be pulled. Something I like to explore sometimes utilising the delicate ghost print values which I call "2nd or 3rd Pull".
Not all prints come out successfully with this less reliable method of printing, but the results can be surprisingly fresh and painterly.
I use a warm black ink and stamp each print with a red seal (or Chinese chop). It is made out of soapstone, and my name (or as near as one can get . . . !) is engraved in Chinese characters.
The red paste is made from finely pulverised cinnabar, mixed with castoroil and silk strands, and is sold in a pretty little porcelain dish with a lid.
I like to use it since the vermillion gives extra value to the blacks on the white paper.
The size of the plate I am presently using - and therefore the impression it gives is - 180 x 302 mm. The paper size is 250 x 358mm.