Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Linocut Tuturial! {featuring Ruby}

Hey blog people! I've recently been getting lots of questions about my linocut / block print process. During one of my most recent printing projects I took a bunch of photos to share.... hope this helps to spark some block-printing creativity out there!

Here are the materials I use for block printing. Carving tools (I have small, medium-V and large-U gauges) brayers, and inks. Although there are some really nice high-end inks out there for printing, I'm pretty happy with water-soluable Speedball inks. Their clear ink extender is also great for helping thin down the inks for smoother printing.

This is my starting point: the sketch I drew of Ruby, ready to move on to become a linocut!

...I then traced over that drawing on tracing paper. I find that transferring my sketch to the block is much easier from tracing paper rather than sketchbook paper.

The traced sketch is placed over my block (I call it a block, but it's actually Speedy-Carve material from Speedball-- similar to a rubber stamp.) Once I've got it positioned just where I want it, I take the end of a (capped!) Sharpie or pen and rub the drawing to transfer the graphite to the block.

Here's how the transfer looks.

Start carving! I usually begin with the smallest details first, then work my way into larger areas with a larger gauge carving tool. This will only be a one-color print, so whatever I'm carving away will be the color of the paper, and what is left behind will be inked in black.

Carving out the feet!

Here's the block after I'm finished carving. Carving out lettering in reverse always feels strange, but I just have to trust those guidelines!

Inking up the block with a brayer! Ink up the block as evenly as possible and carefully lay down a piece of paper on top.

I print my linocuts at home (without the use of a letterpress), so a good way to get an even amount of pressure over the entire block is to rub the back of your paper with a spoon & a little elbow grease.

Lifting up my first print!

Here's the initial print of this Ruby block (AKA: the Artist's Proof.) From this point, I can now see areas in the block I'd like to carve out a little further.

Once I have a print that I'm happy with and it's dry (the water-based inks I use take about 20 minutes to dry under a warm lamp... oil-based inks can take days.) I like to add some color details with acrylic paint or paint markers.

(I referenced this photo often for Ruby's color details.)

Here's my final Ruby portrait! There's only going to be this one printed portrait out in the world, so I simply signed and dated it-- no edition # required.

I hope this helps some block printers out there.
Happy printing!

1 comment:

emydemy said...

This is awesome!