How did it start? (Not Lino printing, just my very short history with Lino) I had the pleasure of spending a morning in an artist friend's studio, learning from her. She did art school and knew quite a bit about Lino printing. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera, and only took this picture afterwards.
Here's what I learned in a morning:
- Tools matter: Get proper Lino cutting tools in stead of cheaper woodcutting tools (another friend brought along these and you couldn't use them on Lino).
- The real Lino (brownish with a hessian backing) is easier to use than the cheaper grey version. But the cheap one worked ok enough. (Ours came from Herbert and Evans in Jo'burg).
- If you work with the grey Lino, work on the shiny side.
- Sharp tools make a huge difference. Sharpen them by putting a few drops of oil on fine sandpaper, and gently "colour" over it with the tool.
- You need tracing paper to copy your design. Trace the design, place face down on Lino and trace. Detailed sections can just be coloured over and the picture will still transfer onto the Lino.
- Remember that you'll have a reverse copy of your image on the Lino. Sometimes this matters, sometimes it doesn't.
- Decide where you want colour and where not before you carve. Eg. The outline can be in colour (and the rest carved out), or it can be carved away and the rest in colour.
- You can make your image in more than one colour by
(a) printing, carving away more, printing in another colour and so forth. (This is tricky as your print has to be done in exactly the same place every time. You can set pins as guidelines to do this. Use cellotape to ensure that the pinholes don't get bigger) or
(b) making two separate stamps, one with the outline and one with a colour area.
- Work carefully, error lines will show.
- First go around your outline with the knifelike tool. Carve out big areas with the rounded tool. Carve deep enough and always away from yourself. Work from your outline outwards.
- To print: Put some paint (eg oilpaint) onto a piece of glass. Use a roller to apply it to evenly to your completed stamp. Paint should not be too thick, or it will run.
- Place paper over your stamp and rub hard and repeatedly with the round part of a dessertspoon. This ensures a solid colour.
- Enjoy your artwork.
Still no expert, not even close, but I'm thinking of getting kitted out for some more Lino experiments. Until then I'll make some eraser stamps just for fun.