To create a monotype, the artist manipulates ink or paint onto the surface of a smooth plate and then transfers that image onto paper by means of pressure.
The pigments may be applied by means of rollers, brushes, stencils or inked collage materials. The plate may be made of anything that can withstand pressure such as plexiglass, metal, cardboard or occasionally wood. Pressure for transferring the pigments from the plate to the paper may be done by simply hand- rubbing or using an etching press. Since no image has been incised or otherwise permanently fixed to the plate as in other print media, the image cannot be repeated exactly and only one (mono) print can be made.
A small number ( 1 -10, depending on the nature of pigment application) of subsequent "ghost" prints may be pulled from the same plate but they will be successively paler and different in character. Frequently, an artist may rework a completed monotype with the addition of collage materials, pastels, inks or other drawing materials. Monotypes may be made on paper or fabric.