Continued from The Linocut Process - Part 1

How to Linocut - Multiple-Color Prints

You can use the reduction method or multiple block technique to make prints with more than one color. I sometimes use both methods on the same print like on this Lake Tahoe print - A Noble Sheet of Blue Water.

Reduction Print Method

Reduction Linocut - "Last Run" Skiing Print

Reduction Linocut - "Last Run" Skiing Print

One of my favorite linocut techniques is the reduction print method, when you use the same linoleum block to print multiple colors. Here I breakdown the reduction print process.

Multiple Block Method

As the name of this process implies, each color in the print is made from a different block. A challenge of this technique is making sure that each of the blocks are registered correctly so that each block's image lines up. Printmakers have all different ways to ensure good registration. Personally, I like using a homemade, "L"-shaped wooden registration jig (picture in this blog post), which helps me lay the paper on the block the exact same way every time. A nice thing about using multiple blocks is that you have more control over the final print because you can test and tweak the blocks and colors before printing the final edition.

Deconstruction and There Seldom is a Single Wave were made with separate blocks for each color.

Linocut Printed T-Shirts

One main difference between printing on paper versus fabric is the ink used if washability is a factor. I typically use Speedball's Fabric Block Printing Ink or Gamblin's Drive by Black Textile Ink. You can also experiment with screen printing textile inks like Speedball's Fabric Screen Printing Ink, Jacquard Screen Printing Ink, or Versatex Screen Printing Ink. Block printing with screen printing ink takes some getting used to and be sure to try a foam brayer when working with these inks.

If you're interested, I have a whole page dedicated to printing linocuts on t-shirts and fabric, including tips and a video.

Linoleum Block Printing Tips and Techniques

Over the years, I've written about techniques and tricks for linoleum block printing. Here are a few posts:

Printmaking Books

I think these are very good general printmaking books. The more contemporary book, The Printmaking Bible, has a much longer linocut section.

  • The Printmaking Bible by Ann d'Arcy Hughes and Hebe Vernon-Morris
  • The Complete Printmaker by John Ross, Clare Romano and Tim Ross

These are some recommended books highlighting the work of two amazing relief printmakers:

  • Gustave Baumann: Nearer to Art by Krause, Yurtseven and Acton
  • The High Sierra of California by Snyder and Killion

Printmaking Resources

  • McClain's Printmaking Supplies is an excellent online source for supplies like ink, paper, blocks and tools.
  • Dick Blick is a large and dependable retailer of art supplies, including printmaking supplies.
  • Linocut Friends is a large and active Facebook group for linocut artists.
  • Hida Tool & Hardware sells carving tools and sharpening supplies from its Berkeley, California store.