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Try Easy Linocut Printing

Another method of creating expression products is Linocut. Linocut printing is so easy that it's widely used in schools to introduce children to the art of printmaking. Even so, it's an established professional print medium in the contemporary art world following its use by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

Linocut Print
Image provided by Carl Eugen Keel under
Creative Commons Attribution license.

Start with a drawing. Trace the drawing onto a linoleum sheet using graphite transfer paper. Use a knife, chisel or gouge carve out the areas that are not to be printed. After cleaning away any debris from the carving, ink the linoleum with a roller (called a brayer). Then impress the inked side of the linoleum sheet onto paper or fabric.

Carve out areas not to be printed
Image provided under Creative Commons
Attribution Share Alike license.

The linoleum sheet is often mounted on a wooden block. Carving is usually accomplished by carving around large shapes with a small V-shaped gouge, and then carving out the large center areas with a large U-shaped gouge. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.

Picasso color linocut
Picasso color linocut

Color linocuts can be made by using a different block for each color., Pablo Picasso demonstrated that such prints can also be achieved using a single piece of linoleum in what is called the "reductive" print method. After each successive color is imprinted onto the paper, the artist then cleans the lino plate and cuts away what will not be imprinted for the subsequently applied color.

You can combine linocut printing with other methods, for example you can linocut print on top of painted or silk-screened backgrounds, or you can use paints or colored pencils to hand-color the print after it has dried.

Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects gives you all of the information you need to learn printmaking in a fun and accessible way.

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