In this post I’m going to show you how I turned a sketch of some bamboo into a two colour linoprint. I hope you can use the techniques I have used here to turn your own sketches into prints – I would love to see what you do! If you want to buy one of my bamboo prints they are available here.
You will need:
- A soft pencil (2B)
- Two 150mm x 200mm blocks of lino – I used the soft cut variety
- Tracing paper
- Lino cutting tools
- Craft knife
- A brayer
- Wood block ink
- A roller
- A surface to roll your ink on – I use an old glass table mat. (Make sure any glass you use has no sharp edges)
First trace your sketch using the soft pencil and tracing paper. Turn the traced image over and position it on to the lino, use the brayer to rub the image and transfer it to the lino.
Once the image is transferred you can start cutting the lino. As you want the lines you have drawn to be printed in black you need to cut away everything else from the lino, the bits left behind will eventually be inked and printed. Go slowly with the cutting tool and keep your fingers out of the way in case you slip.
This print is going to be two colour, the foreground will be black, and there will be some blocks of green in the background. To do this draw some rectangular shapes where you want the background colour printed on the piece of tracing paper you used earlier. Use the same method to transfer the shapes to the second piece of lino. Cut these shapes out using a craft knife.
Next register your prints. I use a simple method of doing this that works really well:
Take a piece of cardboard the same size as the paper you are printing on – in this case A4. Lay the tracing paper with the traced image over the top and position it where you would like it printed. Now put the lino blocks you just cut out in position under the tracing paper – lining them up with the shapes you drew. Take the tracing paper away and carefully put making tape around the edges of the lino blocks to mark their position.
Take the lino shapes away and do the same thing with the first lino block using the same piece of card.
Now to start printing! Begin with the background colour, here I have chosen a mint green. Put your ink on the glass surface and roll until slightly tacky. Ink up each of the lino blocks and make sure they are in position using the masking tape registration.
Next line up the paper with the top of the card, carefully lay flat over the lino. If you have a press, press it in there, if not use your brayer to press down on the lino with even, thorough pressure.
Print your run of prints, inking up the lino each time and checking they are in the correct position.
Once the prints are dry you can add the foreground. Ink up the lino with black ink. Cut away any bits of lino that are picking up ink that you don’t want, or rub away with a rag. Register on the cardboard using the making tape guides you made earlier.
Take each piece of paper and line it up at the top of the cardboard as you did earlier. Press, lift off and leave to dry. Remember to ink up again inbetween each print.
And there you have it – finished print! I printed a few on brown paper to which I think look great – try experimenting with different coloured and textured paper and see what you come up with!