Registration, linocut, multiple blocks and reduction printing method
One of my favourite lino print artists is Edward Bawden and many of his works were used to illustrate books and posters. Popular at the moment is Angela Harding and Angie Lewin.
So far I haven’t talked much about registration which is just the term used to describe aligning plates so that they are positioned in exactly the right place with each new colour. In the print industry they use registration and cut marks. The cut marks are guides for where to cut a page to the correct size.
Registration marks help the print minder to adjust the settings on a printing press when the colours aren’t aligned. There are numerous ways to ensure that your print is aligned perfectly every time. You can use a block of wood with a right angled corner screwed to it which you place your plate hard up against and then your paper to match up.
You can use pegs to align your paper too, but remember it’s not only your paper that can move but your printing plate too. As a general rule if you plate is thicker than about 3mm you will need some device otherwise place it on a board, mark draw a line round it and tape it onto a board. Now all you have to do is line up you paper on top. You can simple use a hole punch to punch a hole in each corner of your paper prior to printing. Pop it onto the board where your plate will sit, tape it down and draw through the holes. Every time you use that piece of paper, so long as you holes match up to the marks on the board and you carefully tape it down it should line up.
Another method is to use a hinged frame for the top of your paper but you still have to be careful that the sides don’t slide so you need to ensure there is some sort of guide for that. Finally it is best to always have the top of your image facing away from you and mark the back of your paper at the top to eliminate the risk of your second, third or fourth colour being printed upside down.
So far this week, I have concentrated on patterns and nothing pictorial, and with abstract patterns you can get away with poor registration a lot of the time for a single print, less so with repeating patterns. For pictorial work it soon becomes vital that your registration is spot on.