Example 2: Step by step process of a reduction linocut

Here is the photo I took of Sliver that I will be using as reference for this linocut.

Here is the photo I took of Sliver that I will be using as reference for this linocut.

Here is the drawing of Sliver, sitting on the top of the leather sofa, on the 5"x7" mounted linoleum block.  I used the copy machine to print the reference photo that I took of Sliver. It was output at the size of the block I am using. I traced the photo with carbon paper to transfer the basic shapes and proportions onto the block. I refined the tracing by drawing with pencil. Then I drew over the pencil drawing with a fine permanent marker. I used a Pigma Micron 01 pen. It is important to use a pen that will not wash away or smear when you clean the block. After I carve and am ready to print, I will have to clean the block and this will remove the pencil so the graphite does not transfer into the ink.

Here is the drawing of Sliver, sitting on the top of the leather sofa, on the 5"x7" mounted linoleum block.
I used the copy machine to print the reference photo that I took of Sliver. It was output at the size of the block I am using. I traced the photo with carbon paper to transfer the basic shapes and proportions onto the block. I refined the tracing by drawing with pencil. Then I drew over the pencil drawing with a fine permanent marker. I used a Pigma Micron 01 pen. It is important to use a pen that will not wash away or smear when you clean the block. After I carve and am ready to print, I will have to clean the block and this will remove the pencil so the graphite does not transfer into the ink.

Here is the block with the first carving on it. What I carved is only what will remain the white of the paper. There was not a lot of pure white in the photo I am using as reference. This stage of carving only had very light highlights, whiskers, and lines that begin the wall.  After carving, I cleaned the block with alcohol to remove the graphite from the pencil drawing. The graphite would have transferred into the ink and I planned on using a very light color which would be easily contaminated. When I washed the block with alcohol, some of the ink smeared. I had to remember that the drawing on the block is just a guide for what I want to carve and not the final piece of art. Even if it doesn't look pretty anymore there is still enough of the drawing that didn't wash off to continue.

Here is the block with the first carving on it. What I carved is only what will remain the white of the paper. There was not a lot of pure white in the photo I am using as reference. This stage of carving only had very light highlights, whiskers, and lines that begin the wall.
After carving, I cleaned the block with alcohol to remove the graphite from the pencil drawing. The graphite would have transferred into the ink and I planned on using a very light color which would be easily contaminated. When I washed the block with alcohol, some of the ink smeared. I had to remember that the drawing on the block is just a guide for what I want to carve and not the final piece of art. Even if it doesn't look pretty anymore there is still enough of the drawing that didn't wash off to continue.

Here is the block locked up in the press that I am using for the print. I am using a proofing press that we have at the Athenaeum's Print Studio.

Here is the block locked up in the press that I am using for the print. I am using a proofing press that we have at the Athenaeum's Print Studio.

One reason I am using the proofing press is so I can roll the ink on by hand with a brayer. This lets me mix up smaller batches of ink than I would use on the bigger Asbern letterpress with the automatic inking rollers. The clean up is easier and I can change colors more readily. Here is the ink I have mixed for the first color on the print. The ink I'm using is rubber based ink for letterpress from cans. I have mixed opaque white with transparent base and then added a very small amount of metallic copper. I have found that this combination makes a nice light beige.

One reason I am using the proofing press is so I can roll the ink on by hand with a brayer. This lets me mix up smaller batches of ink than I would use on the bigger Asbern letterpress with the automatic inking rollers. The clean up is easier and I can change colors more readily. Here is the ink I have mixed for the first color on the print. The ink I'm using is rubber based ink for letterpress from cans. I have mixed opaque white with transparent base and then added a very small amount of metallic copper. I have found that this combination makes a nice light beige.

Here is the first color printed on the paper. I have only carved away a small amount and the color is very light. It is difficult to see very much at this stage.

Here is the first color printed on the paper. I have only carved away a small amount and the color is very light. It is difficult to see very much at this stage.

Here is a close up of the first color printed on the paper. There is a value difference between the white of the paper and the light beige ink.

Here is a close up of the first color printed on the paper. There is a value difference between the white of the paper and the light beige ink.

For the next color I mixed a little bit of grey into the light beige ink.

For the next color I mixed a little bit of grey into the light beige ink.

Here is the block carved, inked, and locked up in the press. It is ready for printing the second color. I have carved more of the wall behind Sliver and have expanded on the light areas in his fur. The ink color is slightly darker and more grey, but still very light.

Here is the block carved, inked, and locked up in the press. It is ready for printing the second color. I have carved more of the wall behind Sliver and have expanded on the light areas in his fur. The ink color is slightly darker and more grey, but still very light.

Here is the second color printed over the first color on the paper. The figure of Sliver is starting to emerge with the darker value of the second color and the white of the paper.

Here is the second color printed over the first color on the paper. The figure of Sliver is starting to emerge with the darker value of the second color and the white of the paper.

Here is the block carved, inked, and locked up in the press, ready for printing the third color. At this stage, I have carved away the background wall behind Sliver. I have expanded the light parts of the fur. The ink has a slightly darker value of grey mixed into it.

Here is the block carved, inked, and locked up in the press, ready for printing the third color. At this stage, I have carved away the background wall behind Sliver. I have expanded the light parts of the fur. The ink has a slightly darker value of grey mixed into it.

Here is a photo showing the whole proofing press with the block locked up with wooden furniture and magnets.

Here is a photo showing the whole proofing press with the block locked up with wooden furniture and magnets.

Here is the third color printed on top of the first two colors on the paper. There is a value and color difference between the cat and the wall behind. The highlights on the fur have started to emerge. The details that I had planned on in the drawing are starting to become visible.

Here is the third color printed on top of the first two colors on the paper. There is a value and color difference between the cat and the wall behind. The highlights on the fur have started to emerge. The details that I had planned on in the drawing are starting to become visible.