THE PROCESS OF REDUCTION LINO PRINTING
I create reduction lino prints by printing up to 20 colours of oil-based inks over each other on acid free printmaking papers using one piece of lino, carving tools, a hand roller, printing inks and a printing press. The lino is carved away between each colour and it is this process of printing colours and carving away parts of the plate which results in an edition of prints and a piece of savaged lino which has seen better days.
An example of the process is as follows: Gray is printed as the first colour. Then after all pieces of paper have gray printed on them, the lino plate is cut away where I want the colour gray to be. Then blue ink is rolled on the surface of the plate: the magic moment is when you see the plate with the new colour printed on it, revealing both colours and the beginning of the design. The plate is then cut away where the blue colour is to stay. The lino is inked up with the new colour, pink, to reveal more of the design with each new colour and cutting of the plate. The procedure of cutting, inking and printing is repeated until the image is completed.
Because of the complex and time-consuming nature of the process, I keep the number of prints in my editions at less than 20 prints. Think about it. If I print 20 colours and have an edition of 15 prints, I will have inked up the plate and run it through the press 300 times. Not to mention cleaning the plate and roller each time. Mind boggling!
Unlike many other printmaking techniques, no more prints can be made as the plate is destroyed with the process of cutting. The many layers of ink produce a lustrous textured surface on the prints and it is this amazing surface of overprinted inks and the excitement of changes created by each new colour, which keeps me fascinated with this process.
‘B. Coccinea’, a reduction lino print with 16 colours
LAYERS OF COLOURS IN ORDER OF PRINTING of ‘B. Coccinea’
1 34 5 7
TIPS FOR LINO CUTTING
Please check the blog at www.linocutboy.com.
Nick has some great tips for those who are doing lino prints.