Linocut Learning

So a few months ago, I was going through a variety of artistic mediums to find new ways to enjoy making art as it had been awhile since I had created anything other than those that were knit or crocheted. I dabbled in watercolour painting. I got my hands (and clothes) dusty and dirty working with pastels, but it was still fun. Then I remembered back to school art classes and remembered those hard, wooden blocks with linoleum that we carved back in late elementary school or middle school. So my next trip to the art store, I found a traditional linoleum block, a few newer, easier to carve printing blocks Speedball Speedy Carve and Blick Readycut and a basic set of carving tools. I guess because Christmas time is one of my favourite times of the year, and that I wanted to send some unique holiday cards this year, the first thing I made was a portrait of a creepy Santa Claus. Here is a photo from drawing, after carving (I’d take a bit more off the edges now), and the print.

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I was immediately in love with the medium. I did find I liked the ReadyCut more than the traditional block linoleum, but I think it all depends on your personal preference and use, as some works of art come out better with a firmer, more rigid surface which which to carve.

I think the thing I enjoy about it is the way it develops. First you have a concept, and then even after your have drawn it on your block, you’re not really sure how it’s going to end up until you’ve done some printing. It’s exciting the first time you lift your paper and get to see what you’ve created. It’s like a fun, little surprise.

One thing I would like to experiment with this year is learning how to make a multi-coloured print, mixing different layers of printing, and again I hope to make numerous cards and prints throughout the year. Right now I’m working with a set of basics, and finding similar materials in a new country has been interesting, but I am looking to upgrade my carving tools a little bit at a time, and at least I get to see the different art stores in the area.

Another of my intial prints this year, notice I forgot I had to reverse the image on this one, but lesson learned and it still turned out cute!

So if you’re in the London area and know of some good shops, or if you’re in the UK and know of a few good online sources for tools and materials, please comment below. Thanks!

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