The Process of Designing, Carving and Printing a Large Linocut for the SFCB
I always look forward to the San Francisco Center for the Book's annual Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival and I'm excited about being a vendor again at this year's event on September 28, 2014. Last year, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to be a featured artist for their 10th Roadworks Festival. My role was to carve a huge 3-foot square linoleum block that was printed using an awesome old steamroller.
Though it was a challenging project for me, I really enjoyed it and this is how I created my print. The design process started with some small studies - experimenting with subject matter and patterns. I came up with an idea of a cross-section of San Francisco Bay, from the Ferry Building all the way down to the Transbay Tube. Sometimes, when I'm crossing the Bay and not taking in the beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge, I think about what is lurking under the water's surface. I then sketched out my preliminary design on a big sheet of paper to help work out some compositional issues. I wasn't used to working in such a large scale - so much space to fill!
I then transferred my image to the lino block and started carving the design. Here are some work in progress shots of my 3-foot linoleum print during the carving stage.
Near the end of the project, I started taking trial proofs of the big print to see what changes I still wanted to make. It was a tiring process because of the block's size and the fact I was printing it by hand - thank goodness for steamrollers! My forearms were cashed but it was a real thrill to finally see the image near completion.
My finished block was printed by the hardworking Roadworks crew on September 29, 2013. It was gratifying to see my finished print and to play a small role in the annual printmaking extravaganza. Big thanks to the staff and volunteers at the San Francisco Center for the Book for an awesome day!
My carved linoleum block.
The crew inking it up.
Carefully laying the paper on the inked block.
Covering it with blankets.
Driving over it with a beautiful old steamroller.
Carefully peeling back the paper.
The finished linocut print featuring San Francisco Bay from the city skyline down to BART's underwater Transbay Tube. Oh, and a giant octopus with a submarine in its tentacles...