I have joined a linocut group on facebook, where members can sign up to print a linocut letter for different themed alphabets. I have chosen the letter ‘G’ for a freestyle alphabet, image size 15×15 cm. You can read more about how I came up with my design here.
I am doing a reduction linocut, also known as a ‘suicide’ cut. Once the first colour is printed you remove more lino from the block to print the next colour and so on for each subsequent colour. This means that if you make a mistake you cannot start again. There is no going back with a ‘suicide’ cut.
I marked out the image on my ‘soft cut’ lino using biro; making sure that my letter ‘G’ was drawn as a mirror image so that when I take a print, the print will show the letter ‘G’ the correct way around.The O and X marks denote areas of colour. Where there are no O and X marks that is the material I want to remove first.
I mixed the first colour which is taupe (a yellowish light grey) using Caligo waterbased inks. I wanted a warmer grey than the graphite pencil as seen in my sketched final design.
I found out that if I didn’t roll on the ink to completely cover the biro pen markings on the lino block, the biro pen actually started to print onto the paper – that was an unwelcome surprise.
I regret the registration method I used to make sure that my lino block and paper could be printed in the same position for each colour. I marked out my lino block in relation to the position of the paper with marker pen on acetate. This method works, but it is not 100% accurate, there is a slight movement of position each time you line up your block and paper. As my image depends on the geometry of the design I should have used a more accurate registration method; I realised this too late! I will have to press on and hope that any movement is very slight and not too noticeable when it comes to printing the next two colours.
(© Catherine Cronin)