Linocutting in Venice

A linocut is a type of relief, or block print, very similar to woodblock printing. When you print a linocut, you carve an image into a linoleum (lino) block and what’s left of the block is inked and then it is printed.

I love linocutting so much, and in this blogpost I’d like to share with you the most beautiful part of the process (the last one): the actual printing.

Before printing, I have carved two lino blocks (the most difficult part of the printing process): every block will print a different color on the paper.

When the blocks are ready, I can focus on the preparation of the colors.

The color I have used for the first print was a light green that I created mixing yellow, white and permanent green, a beautiful bright green that needed to be a bit lightened.
I then slightly diluted the ink with vaseline oil, mixing it well with a metal spatula.
I will tell you a little secret: once they are ready, I always keep the colors in a small bag made of cooking paper to preserve them for a long time!

Once I have chosen the color, I have placed it on my inking plane (in plexiglas) with the help of a rubber spatula.
Passing repeatedly on the ink, vertically and horizontally, the roller inks evenly.
I then brought the ink from the roller to the plate, being careful to cover the entire block.

I have placed the sheet on a wooden board, which serves as surface of my press, and above it the inked rubber plate. A tablet equal to the lower one is placed on top of the plate, and finally a soft rubber sheet, to cushion the pressure of the press.
I inserted the “sandwich” in the press and tightened the press for a few seconds.

I remove the pressure and see the result, gently detaching the plate from the sheet.

And this is the result: the first color is done!

Now I proceed with the second color, repeating the same steps but using the second block- of course! ­čÖé

For the second color I needed a darker green that matched well with the first one.
I mixed the same bright green of the light block with some payne grey, a grey that tends to blue.

And this is the final result

This is the coloring technique I’ve used to print all my linocuts.

If you would like to learn more about linocut technique and you would love to try to make a linocut of your own, you can try one of my workshops: you’ll enjoy it for sure!

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