Posts tagged linocut process
Dealing with Ink in the Negative Space of a Linocut Design

One of the challenges when making a linocut is not getting ink in the negative space of your design - assuming you don’t want it there. The negative space is the carved away area of your linoleum block that you don’t want printed. For example, perhaps you want a nice, clean background to your linocut.

A number of students in my beginner’s linocut course have asked about this issue. There’re several ways to help solve this common problem.

First and foremost, run your fingertip in the cleared negative space (the space you don’t want printed) and feel for high spots. See if you can carve down a little more of the negative space with a “U” gouge, like in this video. Use the widest tool you have at your disposal. This helps with unwanted embossing of the paper, too.

Carving away the linoleum block’s negative space with a “U” gouge.

Carving away the linoleum block’s negative space with a “U” gouge.

Here are some other tips:

  • If I really want a pristine background, I will methodically wipe away any unwanted traces of ink with a rag or Q-tip (cotton swab) before printing.

  • Use the narrowest brayer possible to better control where the ink ends up.

  • You can block off the negative space with a small piece of paper, cardstock or tape while inking the rest of the lino block.

  • Take scraps of linoleum and run them along the side of your block when inking it up. This will help keep the brayer from dipping down into the low areas of your block.

  • Cut a basic stencil in the shape of your image out of a scrap piece of paper. Place your stencil over the block before inking. This will help keep ink off outside areas.

  • If you’re printing with a press, keep in mind that press blankets can push the paper into areas you don't want printed or embossed. I put a thin sheet of MDF wood on top of my paper before putting just one press blanket on top of that.

Online Reduction Printmaking Class

I’m excited to have a follow up to my How to Linocut online course for beginners, it’s an intermediate class all about reduction printmaking! In the class, I walk students through the step-by-step process of making a reduction linocut print. I also show how to make a registration jig. If you want a little background on this printmaking process, check out my reduction printing page.

Example Linocut Print from the  Reduction Printing Course

Example Linocut Print from the Reduction Printing Course

I’ve used the reduction printing technique for many years, making prints like this linocut called Solitude II. Here’s a short trailer for the course.

By the end of this class, through practice, you'll be on your way to creating your own reduction prints. Here’s a kind testimonial from a student in the course:

I really enjoyed this course. The presentation was clear, concise and well thought out. Thank you so much!
— Kathryn, How to Make a Reduction Print Student (2018)
New Online Block Printing Class: How to Linocut

From time to time, people ask if I offer linocut workshops and I'm thrilled to now offer an option. I have an online block printing course for beginners and those who want a refresher on the fundamentals, it's called, How to Linocut. This introductory relief printing class was filmed in my studio and teaches you the basics of creating your own lino print at home. A big benefit of this course is that you can start it any time and is self-paced. I've purposefully laid it out in a very straightforward, step-by-step manner to illustrate the linocut process that I enjoy so much.

The workshop is taught through a series of five videos and you can go back and rewatch the ones that are most helpful or challenging for you. You'll learn:

  • What essential supplies, like ink and tools, you'll need to make a lino print
  • How to transfer your design to a block
  • Simple linoleum carving techniques
  • How to print your block (without a printing press) and what type of paper to use
  • Using the rainbow (or gradient) roll to print multiple colors

Students can save time since all the information you need to know is in the easy to follow curriculum. Here's a brief trailer for the new linocut class that I posted on Instagram.

New Airplane Window View Art

I've got a long history of exploring airplane window views in my art, as no surprise to many of you. For instance, I use this aerial view from a plane window linocut a lot online for marketing purposes and it was also used as a book cover. I did a black and white airplane window seat print, too.

I always try to snap some photos from the window seat as references pictures, though, these days, I'm often sitting in the middle and leaning over my son or daughter who are enthralled with something else. Here are a few photos of the sky, land patterns, clouds and airplane wings that I used for my newest art project.

Some references photos for my new airplane window seat print

Some references photos for my new airplane window seat print

I wanted to do something a little different with this new print, allowing for more spontaneity and experimenting. First, I did some simple illustrations to play with compositions and colors. I came up with a rough plan and used masking tape to block off areas of a linoleum block while inking the plate for the background sky. I printed several different layers on top of each other. A separate lino block was used for the black layer. Here's a shot from Instagram that helps illustrate the process.

Since I peeled off the tape before printing, I can't print an edition of identical prints but I used some of the lighter ghost prints that I got from the same block. As a result, no two prints are exactly the same.

These are two early versions that I printed on my Blick Econo Etch Model II Press and I'm continuing this series of window seat prints. The new linocut prints are available in my Etsy shop where I have numerous travel and airport prints for sale. 

Two versions of the new airplane window view print. Printed on my Blick Econo Etch Model II Press.

Two versions of the new airplane window view print. Printed on my Blick Econo Etch Model II Press.