Lino Printing

lino printing cutting the plate

In lino printing the design is cut into the lino; the areas due to appear white are gouged out and the areas needing colour left in (top marks to anyone recognising the building at this stage):

The lino is then inked with the rollers and paper placed on top before putting it through the press.

Your once pristine lino should end up looking something more gloriously like this:

The moment the paper is peeled back from the print is an exciting one, it’s impossible to know whether the print will be as imagined or, for better or worse,  something else entirely.



Things I have learnt so far about lino printing

Brush the surface of the lino gently but thoroughly with a soft brush before inking up so you don’t end up with bits of  lino debris in the ink which will stop you getting a smooth print on the paper.

Wear an apron.

linocut print shavings

Make sure you have plenty of light when working in the evening, in the morning you will see every error. Either that or only let people view the resulting prints by candlelight.

Do the things you like, don’t be concerned with how it will look to others. You don’t know at the stage of cutting or even inking what it’s really going to look like anyway.

Quite apart from the practice and added experience you get from a ‘failed’ print, you may also be able to salvage something. If there are elements of the print you like but the whole thing doesn’t really work, technically or as a concept, then cut it down to the bit that does work. If you’re lucky that means you have a smaller print that works but if not they may still be useful for something like business cards like these:

print cards