View Full Version : Numbering for hand-colored digital monoprints?

02-21-2003, 05:21 PM
Hi all,
Here's a question that I've NEVER seen addressed. Any opinions or advice appreciated!

I plan to print black and white lineart, and then hand-color the prints using watercolor. It'll be an edition of 10 prints from each original drawing. Each print in the edition will have DIFFERENT colors, not the same. (like one will be a green, one will be red, one will be plaid, whatever)

As I understand it, according to the traditional print world, this makes them "monoprints". There is a lot of confusion in the art world about monoprints vs. monotypes... but as far as I can tell, monoTYPES are one of a kind with no repeatable basic image. People tend to use the term monoPRINT as a synonym, but it's not. MonoPRINTS have a repeated basic image that's been heavily altered (as in my case).

I know you number monoTYPES as 1/1 since they're one of a kind, but, what about monoPRINTS? I've never ever seen this mentioned.

Since they're all going to use different color schemes, would it really be accurate to number then in the traditional limited edition manner (1/10, 2/10, 3/10, etc?) That would imply that there are 9 other prints that look similar, which isn't really true (there won't be 9 green prints out there... there's only one green print).

Obviously I will explain this to my buyers so they know exactly what they're getting, and so they understand that these prints are "one of a kind", but not "one of a type". However, I still want to be as accurate as possible in my numbering approach. Any ideas appreciated!

I also posted this in a Yahoo group for digital printmaking... it'll be interesting to see what they say. I'll be sure to report back!

-=- Jen "I am a monotype" Gagne

02-22-2003, 07:31 AM
I've had a lot of replies elsewhere and emails from here, so, here's a public response and follow-up...

Thanks for the advice, everybody. Other opinions still appreciated! I do plan to print a little explanation on the back of each print (in archival, NON bleeding thin black ink).

I do feel that a 1/10 would be misleading since there aren't really 9 others just like it... the 1/10 type designation is based on this idea that the prints are all very similar to the original artist's proof. Which these aren't.

Besides, maybe in some cases I won't be /able/ to come up with 10 satisfying variations on the colors... in other cases, I could perhaps go past 10. Who knows?

Then again, 1/1 seems a bit misleading, too -- although I know there ARE artists out there labeling hand-altered prints as 1/1, it just feels somewhat unethical.

Maybe I should number these like artist's proofs (A/P) instead... Those are prints people expect to be different. Or I could use C/P (color proof), which is even more accurate... hmm.

How's this sound, I can label them like this...
C/P #1, C/P #2, C/P #3... etc.

That way it has an individual ID _and_ people know how "early" it was in the series, _and_ I don't have to artificially guess at the eventual number of prints. On the back, I would say:

Hand-colored print in a series.
Each is colored differently.
Series ID: 20030029#1
(C) 2003 Jen Gagne

How's that sound?

-=- Jen

02-22-2003, 05:09 PM
Hi Jen,

I haven't been ignoring you. I was caught up in Thrash's thread and was just worn out after trying to explain the differences of what he is doing and what fine art prints are.

I know there has been a lot of debate in digital about this subject. Digital is also a fairly new medium, and should have it's own nitch in the art world, because the work is fine art even if it does not use a brush, pen, etc.... The computer is just another tool to create with. I have enjoyed seeing what people come up with in there.

Now, to your question. I would call these prints a limited run instead of an edition, and yes you can number them. For the differences that show up or are purposely created the term Varied Run comes to mind. Printmakers use the initials VE for varied edition, digital could be VR for varied run VR 1/10. When numbering those that are the same in the digital area maybe use D1/10 or DR 1/10.

A lot of people are trying alternative ways to create editions or runs, but there is a great difference between fine art printmaking and these other techniques. The digital work, and the work that Thrash is doing deserves their own phrase to explain what they are. These are new fields of art that do not fit into any current nitch such as fine art printmaking.

I am always excited to see new forms of expression in art, and each new technique that is discovered should have it's own name. How about putting up a poll in digital, or have a vote to come up with a name for what all of you do?

Here is the answer to your question about the differece between monotype and monoprint.

Definitions from "The Complete Printmaker" which is the bible for all fine art printmakers.

Monotype: "Print pulled from a painting on a non-absorbant plate, such as zinc, copper, or plastic. Usually one impression is made."

Monoprint: "Unique print pulled from a plate that already has an image incised into it, in contrast to a monotype where the surface is unworked."

I hope this information answers your question.

02-23-2003, 11:31 AM
I am copying and moving this thread to digital, but also keeping it open in printmaking. I know how some folks don't like to jump around in other forums, and there has only been one vote and one response in Printmaking, and that was mine....lol

This is a highly debated topic, and deserves discussion and a solution. As a fine art printmaker of the traditional sense I am not opposed to digital prints, finding the art work wonderful. It is an artform in it's own right, but does not fit into the fine art printmaking category which has been around for thousands of years.

Ok, it is all up to you folks. I have given my suggestions in the post above. I wish you all luck on coming up with a solution that is agreeable to all. Remember that it is diverse groups such as the WC! community that can lead the way in some art forms, so choose well :D

03-06-2003, 05:12 AM
Your understanding of monoprint and monotype is correct. These would be monoprints from what I understand. The terminology of printmaking hasn't yet caught up with digital but I would consider the digital base to be your "plate" and then you are making each unique with the hand-colouring. Several artists in my building (including myself) do monoprints this way (with a base plate) and we all number them 1/1.


03-22-2003, 02:25 AM
Wow, I've never even thought about numbering prints in a series I've hand colored. Never really knew what to do about that so I did nothing. Kind of like meeting a weirdo blind date at a restaurant, you see him and don't know quite what to do with him so you do nothing...cept go home.

Hmmm, hand colored prints and bad blind dates. Now is that an analogy or what?

03-22-2003, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by coolartsybabe
Wow, I've never even thought about numbering prints in a series I've hand colored. Never really knew what to do about that so I did nothing. Kind of like meeting a weirdo blind date at a restaurant, you see him and don't know quite what to do with him so you do nothing...cept go home.

Hmmm, hand colored prints and bad blind dates. Now is that an analogy or what?

LOL You are a hoot, artsy :D I felt that way the first time I looked at a blank plate without the knowledge I gained over the years. Now as for weirdo blind dates, I always know what to do with them :D A cop once told me if you are ever approached by someone you feel uncertain of start acting crazy and they will run. Works for those weirdo blind dates too :angel: :evil: In fact letting some of that craziness come to the surface can translate into some interesting intaglio prints also :D