Lino Cutting Demo

Caroline Marsland, our tutor gave a demonstration of lino cutting at our July wednesday class. I have taken the liberty of copying the description of lino cutting from ‘Gradually Greener in Print making’ from the web site. Carolines comments and instructions are added at the end.

“What is a Linocut?: Linocuts are very similar to woodcuts. It is a printing method using a sheet of linoleum, in which a subtractive cutting method is used to take away the parts of linoleum where you want to leave the white of the page, and keep the parts you want to be inked! In the result you have a linocut that can reproduce the same image over and over again.

A Short History: While linoleum was first invented in the 1860s, it wasn’t used as a medium for printing until the early 1900s in Germany, where it was first used for making patterns on wallpaper! Artists ranging from Pablo Picasso to Henri Matisse have made linocuts, and today it is considered a respected art form. Linocuts are also very popular in teaching children in schools about the rewarding art of printmaking.

Why linocuts?: First off, linoleum does not have a grain like wood does, meaning there is no need to cut in one direction. Also, it is much, MUCH easier to cut than wood, especially when heated. Although linoleum is not quite as durable as wood, you can still make hundreds if not thousands of copies of the same image with a single linocut before it is too degraded to use. Linocuts generally remind me of illustrated children books, which is a style I very much like. One can even make several linocuts to be used together to make a print including color, and in some cases (depending on the ink and paper you use) a linocut print can be colored after wards with your medium of choice.

So lets get started!

Step 1: Materials

Materials

You will need . . .

1. One sheet of linoleum!

You can get these at your local art stores such as Jerry’s Artarama, or even at generic craft stores such as Hobby Lobby. The bigger you go, the more expensive the sheet, but generally they are not too expensive. If this is your first linocut, I suggest getting something around the size of 4″ x 5″. This way you do not have a giant piece to work on, but you also won’t have to work with itty bitty details. For your first linocut, I suggest doing a simple pattern with no positive (left, uncut away) pieces smaller than half a centimeter. I know folks who buy linoleum for flooring when they find good deals, and use this for carving. I have never tried this, but only imagine it is much harder to cut than art store grade linoleum. Stay away from anything pink or white that claims to be good for lino-prints, generally it is a rubber that is much too soft, and you will hack it to pieces within seconds.

2. Linocutting tool with an assortment of blades!

You could buy several different handles with blades and v-cutters permenantly attached for about $7 each. I don’t suggest this, as it is very expensive and simply unnecessary. Most art stores and some craft stores will sell a beginers kit that comes with one handle and 5 or 6 different blades for anywhere between $7 and $20. This is what I have, and it works perfectly! I bought mine from Jerry’s Artarama for $14. There is a similar product here ( http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Printmaking-Supplies/Speedball-Block-Printing-Supplies/Speedball-Lino-Cutters-Handles-and-Linozips.htm ) for those of you who would like to buy your tools online or who want to get an idea of what they are looking for.

3. A piece of glass! (At least 8″ by 12″)

You can get your piece of glass anywhere really. Many glass cutting stores will sell you scraps, as artists often use glass for pallets as well. I would get one that is at least the size of your common printer paper. I simply bought an old picture frame from a thrift store for $3, kept the glass and recycled the frame. You will be using this to roll your ink out onto before applying it to your linocut.

4. A brayer!

A brayer is very similar to a paint roller, but instead of the strange cushy material the roll itself is some kind of rubber. I suggest getting a hard or soft rubber brayer, and these will run from between $6 and $20, depending on the size and quality. I suggest getting a brayer that is at least 3 1/2″ wide. Once again, these are found at art stores and in some craft stores. Here’s an example. (http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Printmaking-Supplies/Speedball-Block-Printing-Supplies/Speedball-Barens-and-Brayers.htm)

5. Ink!

You can also get your ink at an art store or craft store, but make sure it says on the bottle it can be used for print making! Any color you like will do. I found a nice little jar of navy blue speed ball ink for $4. A little bird told me once you can use slightly watered down acrylic, but I have never tried this.

6. Paper!

This is the paper you will be using to put your final prints on. If your ink is semi-transparent, you’ll want a lighter color of paper. If the ink is solid and white, try some darker colors! I suggest artist’s quality light weight paper, though stay away from anything that is very textured, such as heavy duty watercolor paper.

7. A dark magic marker!

8. A pencil!

9. An idea for your print!

For your first print, I suggest a pattern or drawing that does not have a ton of detail and without any shading. Try to keep your thinnest positive points (where linoleum is not carved away) about a half centimeter thick for your first print.

10. BANDAIDS

I cannot stress this enough. If it is your first time making a linoleum cut, I highly suggest you have a box of bandaids on hand. You aren’t in danger of cutting a finger off while making a linoprint, but no matter how careful I am, I always manage to slice a finger or two. Some antiseptic ointment is a good idea as well!”

Caroline covered much of the above information and went on to say that the use of two colours could use the same piece of lino with you doing the first print and then cutting back on the lino for the second to do the second print on top of the first. She suggested that you use the lightest as the first layer proceeding to the darker colours. Just a reminder that when you print, it comes out as a reverse. One can use a professional printing press but these are very expensive. A simple wooden spoon can also be used to rub the paper or textile over the block.
The inks come in water and oil based. Oil gives more of a sheen. There are also special textile paints as well.
She touched on repeat patterns which are used in textiles, and wall papers with Standen House being used as an excellent example of these wall papers.
UK suppliers include Intaglio in London as well as Lawrences in Brighton who both are well supplied.
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Recently my friend and fellow artist Tina Stiles arranged to visit the Dane seniors home in Hove, UK to teach art.This was initiated by the Brighton and Hove Arts Council who arrange for outreach to the community to enrich the lives of others through having some of their many member organizations volunteer to do things like this. Tina and I are members of the Dupont Art Club.
We worked with a half dozen people who made and decorated their own cards to be sent to love ones. During this time there was laughter and comradely amongst the people with all of them able to complete at least two cards each. They were very happy to have people take the time to work and interact with them.
We each have something to offer others be it cheerful conversation, company or teaching a little bit of art. With art, people don’t have to speak if they don’t wish to and can communicate through their art. They just immerse the themselves in a relaxing activity.
Although we were the ones to give of our time, we were all the richer for this with feelings of giving a little of our skills to enrich the lives of others.

 

 

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Perspective Demo 15th March

Caroline gave a very interesting demonstration of the use of perspective last week. There was a detailed and fast commentary to accompany the diagrams, and for that reason, this report has only shots of the demo. Caroline has asked that, in the interests of clarity, anyone who would like to have any further explanation should speak to her.

We all enjoyed the session very much, and watched in awe as Caroline deftly produced what seemed like architectural drawings at great speed. One Point Perspective was very useful for those of us attempting the terraced houses of Brighton/Anywhere, and Two Point Perspective no less so. The planning of stairs was particularly helpful too. With regard to still life drawing of vessels, the planning of an ellipse and cup showed method as opposed to freehand.

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