Project 8: Reduction method linocutting

Project 8: Reduction method linocutting

I started the reduction linocut project by gathering as many information as I could on the process, as it looked quite confusing to me in the first place.

The image I chose to depict comes from a quick sketch I did some time ago, when I used some cucumber under my eyes. Other than being an appealing image to me, there was a certain connection with the concept of taking care of myself. Self love is something that constitutes a big focus for me lately and art is therapeutic in that sense.

So I started transferring my design onto the lino and when the image was already there, I decided that I wanted some leaves and flowers around the girl’s image, because she is not only caring for herself, but she is also connecting with nature. So I improvised some plants and flowers in the bottom of the image and few leaves in the background.

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A marker and a pen have been used to trace the drawing onto the lino

I started to cut the areas I wanted to be white as a first step and run a 5 copies print in light green.

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I was very confused at first about the way I should proceed, but somehow since I printed that first colour on paper everything became clear in my mind and very logical.

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So I proceeded with cutting and printing a light skin tone, a darker one on top, then dark red and finally dark green.

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Image on the 4th layer
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Final image

I originally planned on a last layer in black, but decided it was not necessary and could have actually spoiled the colour balance. The dark green came out in fact much darker than expected, as a result of the colours overlapping, so I thought I didn’t need anything darker than that in my picture.

I used water based inks and even though they produced an interesting texture which I guess wouldn’t have been achieved otherwise, they were difficult to handle as they got dry pretty fast. Also the fact that I printed by hand made a big difference in the result, combined with the inks low quality.

Overall I am satisfied with the outcome, as it was my first reduction lino and I am pleased with the fact that the colours are exactly where I wanted them to be, even though I realise that there are a lot of little details that could have contributed to make the image look a lot different than what it is.

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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.

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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.

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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 composition;
  • 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).
Project 6 Single colour linocut

Project 6 Single colour linocut

The research of a subject for this project felt a little difficult to me, not fully knowing how to deal with linocut I was unsure of what kind of image could have the right impact once finished.
After sketching some ideas I decided to go for a picture of a mask, typical from my city Naples, called Pulcinella.

I sketched out a black mask with its typical white hat and tried to simulate what the finished linocut could have looked like by drawing the image with a white pastel on black paper.

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Then I reproduced the drawing on the lino with some carbon paper and started to cut.

I wanted the mask to stand out from a plain white background so I decided to cut off the excess lino rather than working it with the tools.

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Coming to the printing phase, after proofing the lino with some soft pastel, the result wasn’t as I expected. I realised that while I was quite satisfied with the way the hat looks, I didn’t like the effect of the mask. It was actually very difficult to represent something which is completely black, without contour lines, just by guessing where the highlights would have been. I could’t draw this subject from life so I had to imagine where the light was describing the volumes. Also being not that accustomed to lino tools yet, the highlighted areas didn’t have the fluidity I wanted them to have and they ended up looking pretty flat.

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I thought of reworking the plate to make a better print, but cutting off more areas than I already did would have definitely get things worse, so I decided to leave it that way and learn from my mistakes.

Project 5: Linocuts

Project 5: Linocuts

This project consisted essentially in exploring the potential of linocut. I tried linocut in the past a couple of times, just to familiarise with this technique and I found it really amazing. like all the other printmaking techniques I tried so far it requires a fair amount of planning, unless you are really willing to risk and enjoy the potential of the unknown!

I used an A4 sized lino and divided it in little squares using a simple pencil. then I went on it with different tools and trying different approaches. It is quite difficult to free your mind when you are in touch with new things, so this exercise was really useful to just relax and think of the connection with feeling the materials and tools rather than really caring about a specific result.

I printed the finished plate twice, as the first one didn’t seem to have enough ink to show all the marks.

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