Project 8 Reduction method linocutting


I started out with a playing card sized reduction linocut as a quick experiment:


In Project 4, I tried a combination monoprint of a piece of rusty metal from a water tank, on top of a map of where it used to be on Yarnbury Moor. I wanted to explore this idea of printing objects on top of maps further.

I started collecting maps and ideas and played around with some small reduction cut lino pieces. Because these were small, it was easy to register them by simply placing the lino on top of the paper to fit the last print.

My printing plan (modified when printing):


First two colours:


Because the ink was still wet, this has created a great mottled texture which I must try again.

Second two colours:


The final prints:


The print on the right is the closest to what I was aiming for, although the grey doesn’t work well as the last colour.

Some different colour experiments:


Maiden Castle print – 1st attempt

I then decided to move on to a new print. Keeping the same idea of related objects on top of maps of their location, I decided to produce a print of Maiden Castle (an iron age enclosure in Swaledale), with cotton grass heads on top. The maps are not shown here as they are copyrighted.

My printing plan:


(again modified during the printing process)

My best print:


This time printing on wet ink didn’t work as well. Maybe this only works with certain colours? It is certainly safer to wait until the print is dry.

I also remembered to reverse the fort sketch, but not the bog cotton heads.

Maiden Castle print – 2nd attempt

I decided to do this print again on a larger piece and with the bog cotton heads reversed.

My printing plan:


(with modifications before and during printing)

My best prints on thicker paper:


The first of these is on Arches Velin paper and I stopped at the dark green stage. The second is on Fabriano Rosapina paper with the brown on top. I like the mottled effect of the paper showing through on both of these prints.

My best print on Hosho Japanese paper:


I think the subtle colours work well on these prints and I have managed to register them quite well, although not perfectly.

Further development

I think this idea would work well with many other subjects.

Photograph and maps for farm machinery on top of a map of where it lies:


Sketch for a print of an iron age spearhead over a map of the cave in which is was found:



With this print I have worked harder to develop the ideas into a finished print. What I haven’t really done is experiment as much with the colours / processes / etc. and taken more risks, as suggested by my tutor. So, whilst I have ended up with a print I am pleased with, it is very “safe”. The next project will hopefully provide me with a good basis for experimentation.

Research point

Look at the work of Clare Curtis or Mark Hearld, both contemporary printmakers, and look closely at how their prints are created. What makes them work? Are there any techniques you could re-use?

Clare Curtis

From looking through her website, it looks like Clare mostly uses different blocks for each colour rather than using the reduction cut method, although her techniques could be equally well applied to this method. She works mainly in a single (black) or double colour and create bold and expressive work. I particularly like the way she composites different images together into a whole, such as in these prints:

Separate areas for different images

or different elements merged into one print

although I prefer the former method.

Her single colour prints are mainly the ones which grab my attention. Although I like images like, the use of lots of colours makes it look too “busy” for my liking.

Other images which give ideas are:

I like the depiction of the sun in this image, and the isolation of it in a white area also works well. I have seen these swirls around a sun used in other work, most notably for me in the paintings of Kate Lycett – see or If the opportunity presents itself in the next projects, I will try doing something like this myself.

Mark Hearld

What surprises me most about Mark Hearld is that he appears to be doing quite well as a printmaker, but has no website (or none that I can find)! How he manages to do that in this day and age is beyond me.

Moving on to his prints and working methods, the best source I could find on these was St Jude’s Prints, an online gallery.

Probably a reduction cut lino print? I like the way the cutting marks echo the design which would be a good thing to try to do.

Looking at this, it appears that he has re-used the border of the “Fest dog” print, another good tip to take from his work.

Again, the cut marks emphasise the design, leaving lines towards the centre of the flowers

I first thought that this must be a reduction cut print with all the detail which is present, but then saw the overlaid colours at the bottom of the print. I guess he has printed the light blue colour first, then the brown/black (always hard to tell on a computer screen) over the top. On close examination these don’t exactly match up which adds to the design and gives it a bit more life.,4,shop,designedfortate,markhearld

In this image he has used multiple blocks for different colours.

I like the transparent red colour which sometimes goes over the other designs and sometimes around other colours. Although this is a hand drawn lithograph, the inspiration looks like it has either come from a lino print or he has worked with lino in the past, as the print looks like he has left some of the cutting marks around the edge of the standing birds, and used these marks to add movement to the birds flying. However they were done, they both give a nice effect on the print.

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One Response to Project 8 Reduction method linocutting

  1. Pingback: Project 7 – Appraisal of outcomes | Chasing Sparrows

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