Project 7: Multi-block linoprint

Project 7: Multi-block linoprint

This project was about making a linocut using three different blocks, to obtain print in a variety of colours.

I choose my subject trying to keep it simple and I sketched the silhouette of a gargoyle. I used a square format of roughly 10×10 cm, trying to make sure the blocks were perfectly the same size.

I transferred the image onto the first block with some carbon paper and I started to cut only the areas I wanted to leave as the colour of the paper.

I did the rest of the work in a studio, using a little press to print the first block and then transferring that image onto the second block, by keeping the paper trapped in the roller.
Once obtained the guide on the second block, I then cut the same areas as the first one and some additional areas where I wanted my second colour to go.
I repeated the process of transferring the image one last time and cut away from the last block all the areas previously cut and the areas where my third colour was supposed to be.

After this quite confusing process, where I felt a lot of imagination was needed to picture what the final image would have looked like, I had a go at printing.
I left one side of the paper longer so that it would have easily been trapped in the roller making my registration more precise. I also used a sheet where I marked the position of the plate.
I thought the first print was loaded with too much ink and also in some areas there where too many of the carving marks, especially from the last darkest layer, which I found confusing for the overall image.


So I washed the last plate and inked it with a smaller roller trying to catch only the parts I actually meant to print.
I took a second print, minding not to exaggerate with the ink and then took a third one without re-inking.

Scan 2

Scan 1

None of the prints turned out to be perfectly registered, but the progress done from the first to the last is pretty obvious.
Looking at the outcome I think that the image I prefer is actually the faint and last one, especially for the way that blue soft layer turned out to be.

Looking at the work by Edward and Richard Bawden I was noticing in particular:

  • the extremely complex┬ácomposition;
  • the extended use of areas where the colour of the paper is visible;
  • a great amount of details;
  • suggesting the depth in the composition by alternating fuller and bolder areas of colour to finer detailed ones;
  • planning the composition in every detail must have been part of their process;
    the registration is absolutely perfect;
  • Sometimes the plates seem to be inked with two colours at a time, maybe using a brush or palette knife other than the roller, because you can see them softly blending rather than overlapping;
  • the carved areas must have been very deep, because they look very smooth, without the typical linocut marks that sometimes can be a bit distracting (or maybe they were using masks to obtain a cleaner effect).