This is a very brief documentation of the process of creating a reduction linoleum print. If you’d like more information about any of these steps, please feel free to leave a question in the comments.
Step One: Prepare the image for carving.
There are several ways to do this (see the third post in this thread for some ideas) but for this print I traced over a photocopy of the original sketch, with carbon paper underneath to transfer the image to the linoleum. The image printed is a mirror image of my original sketch–which doesn’t bother me for this particular print, but is something to think about if you’d like to include text.
Step Two: Carve your first colour.
As you carve you are removing areas that will remain unprinted, i.e. the same colour/ design as your paper (usually white, but you could really print onto any colour paper), and leaving areas that will be imprinted with a layer of ink. Typically you would print the second-lightest colour of your design first, and build successively-darker layers on top, so at this point just focus on carving out areas you would like to remain white.
Step Two: Print the first colour.
Before you print, make sure you have some kind of register so that you can position each print exactly and avoid headaches trying to line up successive layers of ink. I tape down a piece of cartridge paper larger than the paper I’m printing onto, trace around both the lino block and where I’d like my paper to sit, and stick down some double-sided mounting tape to each bottom corner so that the block and paper fit snugly inside them. And print!
Step Three: Carve and print your next colour.
As you carve you are removing areas that will remain the same colour/ design as what you’ve already printed. Leave areas that will be imprinted with another (darker) layer of ink.
Print as before, and repeat for any additional colours.
Check out some amazing reduction prints here and here.
The lovely Elvia Perrin, a fellow printmaker and Printsy team-mate, featured one of my fish prints in a printmaking treasury.
Thanks Elvia! I’m honoured to be in such good company.
Photography by Brendan Bannon.
Thanks to those who have purchased any Herbivore Knits pattern since September 2009, I have happily been able to support Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) Australia by donating $212.50 in pattern proceeds.
While I will continue to support MSF Australia personally, I have decided to expand my range of nominated charities and support them on a rotating basis. Each time proceeds from the sale of any Herbivore Knits knitting patterns reaches $100, I will donate this amount to one of a selection of Australian-based, international charities. Examples include One Laptop per Child Australia, Turn on the Tap and CARE Australia in addition to Medecins Sans Frontieres Australia, although this list may change with time. I will always indicate which charity this will be here, on the blog.
I studied printmaking as my Art elective in highschool, and loved it, but without access to a press and studio space it’s something I never kept up with. I recently found an old reduction lino print (my favourite method) and started researching methods for printing by hand. Finally, after accumulating tools and supplies and doing lots of planning, I had a printmaking weekend and finished an edition of 10. You can see more pictures of the process here.
One of the things I love about the process (or maybe it’s just MY process, imperfect as it is) is the way each resultant print is different: there are so many variables, and when you lift the paper off the block there’s always an element of surprise. Combining layers of colours as in a reduction print like this one (where each successive colour is printed, then cut away from the lino, which is gradually reduced–and hence destroyed–in the process) multiplies that element of surprise, for better or worse.
I’ve listed a few of the prints on etsy: all individually, because they’re all unique.