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Category Archives: Stage 2 P
Preparing a test linocut
The starting point for linocut was to make a test piece of 24 5cm squares, working on each square with a different tool or approach to get an idea of the textures and patterns each blade can produce.
After building my bench peg, I set about cutting the lino:
And my notes about the tools and techniques used:
Proofing the lino on tracing paper:
This indicated that the lines in two of the squares in the centre made by tool 5 might not show up as the lines are very fine. I re-cut some of these lines, angling the tool to cut either edge of the line in the same way as I had used the craft knife, resulting in deeper lines. The craft knife had greater control in cutting lines though, so I am not sure I would use tool 5 in this way. I left the wire brush marks in the other square which showed nothing on the proofing sheet to see if anything printed.
First test print:
The wire brush square did not print anything, and the two squares using tool 5 printed only a few lines (the ones which were re-cut), due to the cuts used being too light. After cleaning the lino, I re-cut these squares using different methods and tools, to test out cutting bigger white areas, and reprinted the test piece:
Good for detail, cross hatching, speckles, grass patterns?
Wobbling the tool makes a pattern like tree branches (or monkey puzzle tree depending how much you wobble!). Short stabbed lines like grass again?
Wider lines, good for removing more lino.
Only works to cut either side of a line, which gets fine lines, but without the control of a craft knife. Unless I’m missing something, I won’t be using this tool.
Seems to be the best tool for wobbling the blade and getting rough edges.
Nice wide lines, in a “sketchy” style when used lightly. Wobbling the tool produces lines like tyre tracks. Also good for removing a lot of lino, although the tool seems to go down too quickly and try to exit from the bottom of the lino.
Good for wider hatching, or tree branches with wobbling the tool.
Very light lines. Good for depicting grass.
Using a stiff metal brush didn’t work
A craft knife angles from both sides of the line gave clean accurate lines.
Choosing an image
I started out planning to print the following landscape image:
However, once I drew the image in bold black pen, I realised that I would have a large area of white “dead” space in the bottom right corner of the image.
I then looked through some of my other images and decided that this one would contain more interest and offer a challenge:
Sketches of my chosen image:
Planning the image
Chalk drawing of the image on black paper:
I didn’t find this very useful for getting any detail, but it did show up that I needed to create some different textures for the fields and that the trees would need some cutting to avoid being completely black.
I made some rough sketches of what these textures could be:
Reversing the design on lino
I chose to reverse the design on the lino as the person looking from the left into the image gives a stronger image than from the right, so I transferred the image using tracing paper.
Image drawn onto the lino in permanent black pen:
Lino cut with textures added in the fields:
Printing the lino
I chose not to proof the image by rubbing with tracing paper, choosing to go straight for printing it, for which I used a “dense black” oil based ink on several different types of paper:
This showed up a few areas which needed improvement – the lines in the sky, the top of some of the trees and the edge of the bank of trees.
After cleaning the lino, I re-cut these areas and produced some more prints:
This was much better around the edge of the trees, but maybe I should have left a few lines in the sky?
Additional single-block lino
When visiting Kilnsey Show (an agricultural show), I took some photographs of people for potential linocuts and decided to do a single colour print of this chap:
I sketched this out, just going for the outline of the man initially:
When tracing over it, I realised that some of his body wouldn’t show up (black against black), so I added in the drystone wall to remedy this:
I didn’t bother reversing the image as I thought it would work equally well in reverse.
I cut the lino bigger than needed to make the edges work better:
The lino cut down:
Although some areas could be improved, I was pleased with this print.
Planning the print
I initially tinkered with the idea of printing an image of trees using brown, green and blue, but wasn’t happy with the test sketches I made of these:
Then, looking through my stock of images, I came across this image of a ladybird which I thought might work well:
I decided to crop it to a panoramic format to give some variation from the previous image, so sketched it out and roughly shaded the coloured areas in pen:
Cutting the first block – Green
I cut the areas which were to be left white. Where the white areas were going to be under the red or black areas, I cut the lino wider to give some leeway in getting the blocks aligned correctly.
This turned out to be a mistake as detailed later.
Cutting the second block – Red
Red only features on the shell of the ladybird, so I just cut the block in this area.
Cutting the third block – Black
This was the most detailed block to cut.
Registering the multi-block linoprint
I used a piece of card with some glossy blocks of card (in case they needed wiping down) glued on top of it, to butt the lino block up against and marked on the edge lines of the paper:
Printing the first block
Printing the second block
This is where I realised I had a problem. In cutting the white areas bigger than they were needed, I hadn’t realised that the red ink I had was transparent and so the green areas showed through and this over-cutting was highlighted:
I had three options open to me, to re-cut the green block, to cut out the red section of the green block, or to get a denser red ink. I tried the latter option first, but unfortunately achieved the same results with the replacement ink.
I also tried printing the red twice to see if it would cover it well enough, but had no luck with that either:
I then went for the second option and this worked reasonably well:
Where the block was not aligned exactly, this method doesn’t work as well, but the transparent red on top of the green isn’t as vibrant a colour, so I wasn’t tempted to go back and re-start cutting the green block from scratch. Maybe as I get more used to the inks, I might find a non-transparent red which would have worked better, but I was happy to go forward with these prints.
Printing the third block
There are a few registration issues with this print, although I think these mostly come from slight differences in cutting the three blocks. Overall I am happy with the results though.
During this project did you experience any problems or difficulties? Can you identify any ways to solve them?
- Cutting the lino blocks to exactly the same size was difficult. Some means of ensuring a clean and parallel Stanley knife cut through these would help.
- Then cutting the blocks exactly the same where lines in the same area were needed is never going to be possible to do exactly. That issue can easily be resolved by the reduction cut method we move on to next. Doing it with this method would be extremely hard as it would require exactly the same blocks, the tracing paper place exactly in the same place, and the most difficult bit, the line cut exactly in the same way.
- I knew there would be issues in aligning the blocks exactly, so where the detailed red/black on white areas were, I over-cut the green areas to ensure that any slight alignment issues did not affect the print. This will only work when the inks used are not transparent, which I found out to my cost.
- I tried Hosho Japanese paper for one of these prints. This was a lovely paper to use for the dense colour you can get on it and ease of transferring the ink to it. It was however difficult to place on the registration block correctly as it is such a thin paper and required a third hand to align the paper and smooth it over the lino block.
Assignment 2 asks for a selection of prints from projects 5-7.
Contents of my submission
2 prints of my lino test cuts
3 single colour linocut prints (1 initial print on sugar paper & 2 of the final cut on Arches Velin 160iw and Hosho paper)
1 additional linocut print (on Somerset newsprint 250gsm)
Multi-block linocut prints (Hosho paper – dense print)
Multi-block linocut prints (BKF Rivers 280gsm paper – mid dense print)
Multi-block linocut prints (Somerset newsprint 250gsm paper – grainy print)
This last one suffers from incorrect registration of the red ink, but I like the grainy effect of the print. I had a better registered print on cartridge paper, but the black ink is refusing to dry!
Green linocut print
Red linocut print
Black linocut print
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
I think all the prints have come out well. There are some areas which could be improved on the multi-block prints, but more in the cutting of the blocks than with the registration when printing (although I did get registration problems on the Somerset newsprint print with the red ink). I also got some ink on the edges of the Hosho print which I found difficult to place on the block because it is such a thin paper.
I am getting a better grip of the printing processes and the difference the papers make, although I still struggle to get the ink coverage equal across the print.
Quality of outcome
I am very pleased with the prints submitted for this assignment. The one I’d do differently if I did it again would be the multi-block print where I’d chose an image which has the three colours throughout the image and I’d learn from my problems of using transparent inks!
Demonstration of creativity
I think I have demonstrated creativity with these prints. Again, the multi-block print is the one which could be improved in this respect as this print doesn’t have as many different textures / lines.
All my background work for this assignment is in this blog and for my next assignment I need to concentrate on producing a good accompanying sketchbook and also reviewing other artists work.
Feedback from this assignment is that whilst the prints are to a good standard, I have not developed my ideas far from their original source resulting in a drop in standard from my first assignment. Due to other commitments whilst carrying out this work it is very true that I have not been focussed enough on making the best work I can for this assignment.
My tutor encourages me to take more risks with my subject and working processes to help me to develop my creative and imaginative skills. I should develop my ideas further, experiment with altering colours / adding patterns / etc.
I also failed to include a sketchbook for my assignment despite it being suggested after assignment 1 – something which will definitely be remedied in my next assignment submission.