I'm getting ready to start a new smallish print and I realized that I haven't shown how I make a linoleum block before. It's really easy if you have the right tools. I almost always use masonite for the block because it's strong, thin, and doesn't warp (very much). That's the brown hardboard stuff that has a waffle pattern on the back. I cut it to size with a circular saw. Then I usually sand the masontie quickly with rough sandpaper. That roughens up the surface and makes it more likely that the glue will grip it well.
I buy the Battleship Gray linoleum in large sheets or a roll. You can get it lots of different places- Dick Blick, McClain's Printmaking Supplies, and Graphic Chemical & Ink are places where I've bought it before. You can also buy linoleum already mounted on a block. I like it unmounted so I can cut it into any shape I want. And there are different kinds of linoleum that are made in different colors- they vary in softness and other qualities. I like the battleship Gray because it holds fine details well.
Then I cut the linoleum with an X-Acto knife and a ruler. It's tough stuff so you have to score it many times before it will cut all the way through. I like to use clear grid rulers that I learned about from my mom who is a quilter. And to protect your table, you can do the cutting on a self-healing mat. The ruler and the mat are so handy for cutting just about anything- I can't imagine life without them!
When I have the masonite block and the linoleum ready, I put a lot of wood glue on the back of the linoleum.
Then I smear the glue around with my finger. It's really difficult and frustrating when you are carving and the linoleum isn't glued down everywhere so it's best to be thorough. Then I put the two pieces together and leave the block under heavy weight overnight or for 6 hours or so. Ta da!
Here's the drawing for my next print. My illustration group Between the End Pages picks a theme to illustrate for each month and I haven't been able to do the last couple months. So I'm trying to get a jump on the theme for April- Rainstorm. I'm looking forward to doing a small straightforward print that I can start and finish in a reasonable amount of time!
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