Project 7 – Multi-block linocut

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 lino

Red only features on the shell of the ladybird, so I just cut the block in this area.

Cutting the third block – Black

Black lino

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:

Green lino

Printing the first block

Green print 1

Printing the second block

Green Red print 1

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:

Green Red areas 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:

Green Red print 1b

I then went for the second option and this worked reasonably well:

Green print 2

Green Red print 2

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

Three colour dense

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.
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