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What are monotypes, collographs and linocuts, you asked artist Nick Brakel?



It means collage intaglio. Taking mat board and adding gesso, covering it with carborundum or sand, then adding wood burn lines. It is then sealed with different viscosities, inked and run through a printing press. As with most printmaking there is quite a lot of work before you open a bottle of ink.
The material used to create a collagraph often shows textures and shapes, while the ink plate adds tone to the print. Once the collage is settled it is sealed with varnish, lacquer or shellac.

The American artist Glen Alps is often credited with coning the term “collograph” in the last 1950’s, but it is not easy to pin down the development of this printmaking technique exactly. There is evidence French sculptor Pierre Roche (1855-1922) and printmaker Rolf Nesch (1893-1975) experimented with layers on printing plates; that Edmond Casarella (1920-1996) produced prints with collaged board in the late 1940’s. By the 1950’s collaged board prints were part of the art work, especially in the United States.


Monotyping is a type of printmaking made by drawing or painting on a smooth, non-absorbent surface. The surface, or matrix, was historically a copper etching plate, but in contemporary work it can vary from zinc or glass to acrylic glass. The image is then transferred onto a sheet of paper by pressing the two together, usually using a printing-press. Monotypes can also be created by inking an entire surface and then, using brushes or rags, removing ink to create a subtractive image, e.g. creating lights from a field of opaque color. The inks used may be oil based or water based. With oil based inks, the paper may be dry, in which case the image has more contrast, or the paper may be damp, in which case the image has a 10 percent greater range of tones.

Monotyping produces a unique print, or monotype; most of the ink is removed during the initial pressing. Although subsequent reprinting are sometimes possible, they differ greatly from the first print and are generally considered inferior. These prints from the original plate are called “ghost prints.” A print made by pressing a new print onto another surface, effectively making the print into a plate, is called a “cognate”. Stencils, watercolor, solvents, brushes, and other tools are often used to embellish a monotype print. Monotypes can be spontaneously executed and with no previous sketch. –Jules Henri Lengrand


Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press. –Carl Eugen Keel

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