29 Jan Have a go: Linocut Printing
Welcome to a new blog series where I have a go at something creative and then share how you can too.
I have previously had a go at Linocut printing, and I absolutely loved it. Then I simply never got round to doing it again. It’s a wonderful process, and I wanted to do it again. But I always got stuck when thinking about what design to do. Whether it would be “good” enough to use the materials I had. Until I decided to get over it and give it a go, I am glad I did.
Creating my design was the bit I was worried about and was why I hadn’t even attempted Linocut again. I had already bought the ink for another project, a bright yellow, which helped.
Bright yellow = Sun! So I knew that sunshine in some form would be part of it. I knew I wanted to make something encouraging that I could pop on the wall. So “Make Art” got added.
Remember: You will have to carve your design out so think about that when making it. I made a few mistakes at this stage as I didn’t think about what parts I would carve out and what I would leave. This felt like a very normal “beginner” problem to have though so I am not too worried and nor should you be. With experience, it will get easier to visualise how your design will work in the later stages.
If you get stuck for ideas when designing, it can really help to add some restrictions. I already had some ink, so that’s one decision made. Restrictions can help reduce the fatigue of the hundreds of decisions you will make throughout making your print.
If your design has words like mine did – they have to be backwards on the lino. When you go on to print, the design will be the right way round. Luckily this is easy to do! When you are ready to carve, you can transfer it with tracing paper to the lino, making it backwards for you. Thank goodness it’s that easy. I started with the smallest carving tool that my set came with. This meant I could get a feel for how it felt. I also started on the easier part of the design – focusing on the straight lines first in areas with small amounts of detail. I was happy I kept my design simple as it made this part much easier.
My top tip here is to take your time. There is no rush. I would recommend placing the lino against something, the tutorial I have linked below uses a proper frame, but I think anything that ensures your lino stays still, is fine. I didn’t have anything to keep mine still, which made it more difficult than it needed to be. It also made it more dangerous – these tools are sharp, so be careful.
I used the back of a spoon to smooth mine out (as advised by the tutorial I found below), making it really easy. This method got great results for me. There are ways to ensure you get the print in the same place each time, you can see in the tutorial linked below that the author uses a piece of paper underneath the lino as a guide, which is a brilliant idea and helps to get consistency.
Have a go yourself
I used a starter kit that I received during a secret Santa one year. I can’t find that exact kit, but I have found one that looks very similar here at Cowling & Wilcox.
When exploring the best ways to print at home without a press, I found this fantastic tutorial from Anna Curtis Art. It is a full tutorial that really supports you at every point in the process.
Do you like the print I created? You can head over the shop and get one of the original prints, and soon there will be a digital download version to print at home or through an online print service. Any profit from purchases will be used to invest more time in resources and projects.