Monday, December 23, 2013


Christmas is almost here.  I have been enjoying parties and activities, but haven't gotten much artwork done.  I did manage to create a reduction linocut card for people who purchased my artwork this year and a few friends.

I have written about the reduction linocut process here before.  It's a little scary to do because you don't know how many good prints you will get in the end.  So, you always start with more than the number you want.

I still feel like a novice when it comes to print making.  There is so much to learn.  I learned a few things from doing this card:
-  First, don't fold the paper before you print.  It's harder to print that way (duh!).
-  It's helpful to have all the ink colors when mixing ink.
-  Don't use Sharpie on the linoleum block.  It will print with the ink. (I knew this but had forgotten.)

My original drawing for this card had a color scheme of pink, red and burgundy.  When I pulled out my ink colors, I only had Red Oxide which doesn't make for a very Christmas-y red.  It was o.k. to make the pink, but after that I had to change my plan.

Here is the first color, pink.  I was just using some card stock I had on hand.  I liked the creamy, yellowish color but didn't have enough of that and had to use some white, too.  You can see that the pink looks slightly different on each of the background colors.

The dark outlines around some of the shapes is the Sharpie.  It might be an interesting effect to use on purpose some time.  Fortunately, in the end, you can't really tell.

I printed these by hand, which means I rubbed on the back of the paper with a barren.  I set up an area for printing on my drafting table.

On the right is a piece of glass that I mix and roll the ink on.  The other piece of glass is what I put the block on when I'm inking it.  On the left is the inked block ready to print and that knobby thing above it is the homemade barren that my friend made and gave to me.  It works very nicely.

I had to create something so that I could register the paper each time I did a new color.  Here is what I came up with.

I used a leftover piece of mat board and taped some smaller pieces of mat board strips to it.  This is to place the block in the same position every time.  On the left I had marks to line up my paper.  Since I had folded the paper first, I had to be more careful getting the paper to the block side.

After all the pink was printed, I carved away some more of the block and printed a light blue.

Then I added one last color to give it a little more depth.  I had some help from some friends in deciding what the last color would be.

Here are a bunch of the finished ones drying.  The last color was a dark bluish gray with some silver mixed in.

I hope your holidays are Merry!

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