Monday, February 13, 2012

Ready to Carve

My first linoleum block is ready to carve. I took my small sketch and enlarged it in photoshop and then printed it out the same size as my block. 

When it's enlarged it looks kind of sloppy but it still has the good basic shapes and ideas. Then I redrew it on tracing paper, cleaned it up, and I couldn't resist adding a bunch more details.

Then I flipped the tracing paper upside down on the linoleum block and rubbed the back of every pencil line with a metal tool to get it to transfer onto the block. Doing that transfers the image backwards. That gave me another chance to look at the drawing and fix anything that didn't seem right. The block gets carved with the image backwards so that when it's inked and printed, the image will appear correctly on the piece of paper.
Here's my block ready to go!


  1. May I ask a question - where did you learn printmaking techniques? Was it as an adult? Were you exposed to it as a kid? Thanks!

  2. Whoa that's a lot of carving! Can't wait to see it!
    Flopping an image helps so much with seeing if something's "off" -it's so interesting that's a part of the process!

  3. wow! can't wait to see this carved! How cool!

  4. Hi Even in Australia-- I really like your bike and lighthouse photo. It looks like you were having such a good adventure that day!

    I started printmaking as an adult. A lot of people made linocuts or stamps in grade school but I never did. I didn't start making art until I was in my 20's. I went on a binge of making potato prints and my friend suggested I try linoleum prints. The first couple I did I bought blocks from the art store but I was too cheap to buy a carving tool. So I went home and carved the blocks with razor blades. NOT something I would suggest.

    I learned relief printmaking by myself from trial and error over the years. Early on, my brother (who went to art school) talked me through making a registration guide so you can print more than one color and have them all line up. My friend Sherrie York has a post on her wonderful blog about her registration jig if you are curious.

    So anyway, I sense your question might partly be, "can an adult learn how to make linocuts?" And the answer is YES! There's tons of info in books, on the internet, and in classes you can take. Or you can just wing it like I did. I'm still winging it and I love it!

    Tina- I love the fact that looking at a drawing in reverse is part of this process. I catch so many layout and balance problems that way!

    Heather- Thanks for stopping by! I can't wait to see it carved too- I hope it turns out well. :)

  5. Thanks for answering! As for my question, I was mostly just curious - but partly I had my 6-year-old daughter in mind. She loves art and I'd love to find her a class that exposes her to lots of different art techniques, including printmaking. As for me... maybe someday!

    And the bike trip to the lighthouse WAS lots of fun. A fun thing to do if you're ever in NYC.

  6. I know a lot of young kids in elementary school have made prints but it does require sharp cutting tools and pretty good coordination, so maybe not for a few years still for your daughter. An art teacher would know better than me though.

    One thing that's simpler and a lot of fun is that spongy foam that has a sticky back that you get at craft stores. You can cut that with scissors and stick it onto something rigid- matboard or masonite and it works really well with pre-inked stamp pads. I'd definitely do that with your daughter now. I should do a blog post about it. Let me know if you try it!

  7. Great idea, thanks! By the way, there's an award for you over on my blog - check it out!

  8. Awwwwww Thank you for the award!!!!!