Posts tagged linocut technique
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.

Airplane Linocut Printed on an Etching Press + Liz Phair

My newest linoleum block print is of an airplane window seat view at dusk. It's printed with Schmincke Aqua Linoprint Ink on 250 gsm Stonehenge paper. I was playing with that feeling of flying over a city and looking out at the sprawling, lit up urban landscape below.

I remember that great 1990's Liz Phair song, "Stratford-On-Guy," which starts off with the lyrics, "I was flying into Chicago at night...." That song's video on YouTube is definitely worth a watch. And, for a deep dive into that track, check out PopMatters' take on it.

Here's a little video I made while printing the final layer on my small press, which is a Blick Econo Etch Model II Press. The linocut is part of a series of airplane window view artworks and is now available in my Etsy shop. If you have any questions about how my prints are made, please feel free to email me!

Picasso's Linocuts and His Reduction Linocut Technique

The British Museum in London posted a nice little video about Picasso's linocuts on Facebook this week. It breaks down his reduction linocut technique using one of his most famous lino prints, Still Life under the Lamp. While he is sometimes citied as the originator of the technique, research indicates otherwise. I've written in the past about Picasso and tips on making a reduction print if you're interested.

Art writer Charlotte Mullins takes a look at a set of Picasso linocuts acquired by the British Museum in 2014, with help from Art Fund. The two prints, Still Life under the Lamp and Jacqueline Reading, were both made in 1962, when the artist was 80 years old.
Anglerfish Lino Print, T-Shirt and Blended Roll Technique Video

This is a new anglerfish linocut print and you'll notice the gradient effect, which is done with a blended (rainbow) roll of the relief printmaking ink. The lino print is now available in my Etsy shop. This short video shows the technique I used for inking up the linoleum block with the blended roll.

Anglerfish Lino Print

Anglerfish Lino Print

The initial idea for the deep sea print came from my son (and Octonauts superfan) who wanted me to design a new shirt for him and here you can see me printing the block printed t-shirt. I used Gamblin's Drive By Black Textile Ink - a good option for printing on fabric.