I love the graphical nature of linocut printmaking and the textures that can be achieved through different marks. People have sometimes questioned the notion of linocut 'print' as an artwork. The term 'print' has become so ubiquitous with digital printing techniques, where we can make hundreds of identical copies at home. So, I thought that I would write a bit more what a linocut is, and what you can consider while purchasing a linocut art print.
I am largely a self-taught printmaker, and mainly work with linocut technique. In the last year, while I've sold my linocuts online across the globe to art collectors and appreciators, there have been people who have questioned the notion of linocut 'print' as an artwork. The term 'print' has become so ubiquitous with digital printing techniques, where we can make hundreds of identical copies at home. So, I thought that I would write a bit more what a linocut is, and what you can consider while purchasing a linocut art print.
What is a linocut?
A linocut is a traditional printmaking technique. 'Print' used in this context has no digital element to it, and all parts of the process are carried out by hand. Some printmakers might use digital software to create their illustrations and then transfer them to a lino, or use digital photographs as the basis of their designs, but that is usually where the use of digital technology ends. I always start all my sketches by hand in a traditional sketchbook, and they evolve often as doodles and ideas. I enjoy the freedom of the free flowing lines and bringing different ideas together. Often this thinking time can happen in front of the television at the end of the day. My mind is always buzzing with ideas and I have to get them down on paper!
Linocut is a block printing relief technique, in which an image is cut into a sheet or block of linoleum and then printed using either a small press, or by hand. I find the whole process of cutting so meditative and therapeutic, where the mind has to be completely focussed (lest you cut yourself!) and every change in breath and pressure of the tool can alter the texture of the final piece.
The raised surfaces are the ones that capture the ink and hence are printed on to the paper. The impression is created on the paper as a mirror image. Each time a print has to be created from the lino block, it has to be inked and then pressed and so each print created in this way is unique. Therefore, each print is an original artwork.
Tete- a -tete: The Hare and the Crow, 2016 (See it here)
Tulips in Blue, Linocut, 2016 (See it here)
These linocut prints are different from the reproduction prints, which are often created digitally and are often not limited edition. The linocut technique lends itself beautifully to creating strong, graphic monochrome prints, which is why it is such a favourite of mine, and unlike the woodcut, it does not have a grainy texture, thereby resulting in smoother art prints.
I learnt a lot through experimenting and making mistakes, and there are things that I wish I knew when I start printmaking. This is why I decided to put together a linocut printmaking kit for beginners with an extended and exhaustive list of instructions, tips and troubleshooting along with design ideas and templates, gathered together from my own experience. I have also launched a 'Print Club'. If you fancy a new original artwork to inspire and delight, then have a look here. There is also a Facebook Print Club which will be a platform to discuss tips, release new design templates and for exclusive member packages and discounts. There might also be a competition to name my printmaking press, if you fancy entering!
If you'd like to try printmaking, or learn some more advanced multi-block and reduction techniques in groups or individual sessions, I have a very few slots now available for my workshops in my home studio, where we will also have access to my large printmaking press and you will take a set of limited edition prints and your original linocut block to take home at the end of the day!
In my next post, I am going to discuss more about purchasing and collecting linocuts, what to look out for, what the latest trends are, and how to care for your linocuts. So, do join us back here!