Media of the Month

Reduction linocuts

Reduction Linocuts, something I never got round to last year, are done by printing a colour then you carve away at the lino to print a second colour and you repeat that process until you are happy with the colours printed. It is wise to do several prints at each stage to avoid disappointment and it is usual to cut the colours from the lightest to the darkest.

Below are examples of how you individual cuts, in this case the second and fourth and two examples of how you can can combine cuts. You don’t have to include them all and sometimes missing out a stage creates a sharper, more striking contrast.

What’s really rewarding about this process is the joy of experimenting with different have hues. You can rescue a print from a disastrous colour choice by adding another layer of colour.

The main thing to be most precise about is aligning your linocut precisely on top of your last colour the right way up. This is called registration and the better you are at it the more detail and refinement you can capture so long as you’re also careful not to use too much ink on any colour. Not enough and you don’t get an image. Too much and the carved out sections get clogged and you loose definition of all your details. The ink needs to be slightly tacky before applying it.

The biggest down side is having cut away so much lino with every colour, you can be left with very little left so that is why many artists make separate blocks for each colour. The added benefit of doing so is you can keep printing with those blocks nigh on forever. The pitfall can be the level of accuracy required not just while registering the blocks while printing but while carving them out to begin with. It’s something I’ve never tried but before the month is out I hope to.