The Linocut Printmaking Process

Lino cut printmaking involves carving an image into a piece of lino using various chisel shaped tools. These come in all different sizes allowing for thick and thin marks to be carved into the lino. Precautions must be taken when carving the lino to avoid being accidentally hurt by a carving tool. This is done by using a wooden bench hook. This simple piece of equipment allows for controlled carving of the lino with no unfortunate accidents. I provide these at all my lino cut workshops. When the image is carved it represents a reversal or mirror image. When creating a lino cut print I use Japanese vinyl for this type of printmaking. The vinyl is flexible and very easy to carve. Conventional lino is harder to cut and the process can be slower.

It is possible to use several pieces of lino to create one image, or another technique involves carving one piece of lino many times. Each time the lino is carved it is printed, then the next part of the image is carved and so on. This is know as a reduction print. Or amusingly sometimes is referred as a suicide print.

Once the image is ready to print a thin layer of ink is rolled onto the lino using a roller. The paper is place over the lino and it can be printed in a few different ways, either by hand using a baren or the back of a spoon. The most effect way is to use a press. This helps give an even print of colour. The press can be either a relief press, where the pressure is applied by going straight down onto the lino or by using an etching press. This requires a little more careful planning to make sure the pressure is right to achieve the correct registration and overall finished look of the print.