Sketch to Ink.

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.

WIP Sketch

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.

First cutting

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.

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.

Second 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.

Third colour

Check out some amazing reduction prints here and here.


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