Carving, carving, carving. My first Linocut project!

linocut technique plate art
I haven’t been able to post for a little while because I’ve been working on some several assignments for my courses, plus writing midterms.  The project  I am sharing today is for my Printmaking class and features a series of small linocuts I call “ironic postcards”.

“Linocut” is basically what it sounds like, carving out a piece of linoleum to create a surface to print from, or “matrix”.

Above is what the piece of linoleum looks like before it is carved.  I begin with this and draw my design straight onto the surface in pencil.  I then go over the pencil drawing in Sharpie or another permanent marker which is about the width of the line I would like to carve.  At this point I don’t worry too much about making mistakes since I can still change the image when I carve it out.

linocut plate carving techniqueAfter I carve out the plates they look like the ones below.  These are the other 3 in the series which I have already finished carving.

linocut plate carved relief printingBefore printing on the nice card stock paper I got for this project I like to make a few test prints on regular printer paper to see where I might need to make some adjustments.  I then cut out around the design using household scissors so that I get less unwanted black marks.

I squeeze out my ink onto the glass plate and scrape it around using a palette knife so the ink will be the right consistency. This is called “warming” the ink.  Sometimes the ink can be too wet or too dry so you have to experiment with it to get the look you want for your print.  I had to leave my tube of water-based relief ink overnight with the cap off because it was way too watery.  I finally got the right consistency after a few test prints on the cheap paper, but then it dried up so I had to scrape up the ink and re “warm” it mixed with some fresh ink.

linocut print printmaking brayer inkI like to ink up the plates on one piece of newspaper, them move them over to a clean piece of newspaper before I place the paper onto the plate.  The ink tends to get all over the place so you have to be pretty careful and wash your hands a lot.

Also, the ink always seems to wind up going somewhere on the plate you don’t want it to be so I like to rip off tiny pieces of paper and put them on top of those spots before I print.

Once the paper is laid carefully on the plate I use a wooden spoon to rub in small circles all around the design, pressing fairly hard and trying to get it even in all areas.  I go over it several times to make sure the print will be as even as possible.

Here is how it turned one of them turned out.  Next to it is the wooden spoon I used.

linocut print prints art reliefNot too bad right?

Anyways I hope you have found this post interesting and useful.  If you would like more information about this printing process do feel free to leave a comment.

I will be attempting to make about 20 good prints of each of the 4 designs so wish me luck!

If you like my work please check out my website and follow me on Facebook for more updates!  I also have a Zazzle store with tons of items featuring my artwork so check it out! 🙂

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

~Julie

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