• Erika Lee

A Beginner's Guide to Printmaking from a Beginner

Updated: Aug 22, 2018

Perhaps you need a new medium to spark up your portfolio. Or maybe you've always been interested in the art of printmaking. For me, it was that plus the Instagram induced admiration of these wonderfully intricate prints.

My Fantasy.

Whatever the reason, here's a quick run through of linocut printmaking and basic printmaking tips that I've realised through numerous minor injuries and hours lost in the internet.



Basic Materials


credit: Jason Dorofy

While this informative diagram lists all the basic materials needed for printmaking, if you are out of cash, you can do away with the bench hook and the barren. You can replace the barren with a big spoon! It works perfectly fine.



Print-Making Steps


1. Sketch. Sketch out your print in detail on paper.


2. Transfer your image onto the linoleum block. Carbon paper recommended.


3. (Optional) Use a marker to colour in the spaces that will be printed. It allows you to see what your print will look like without a proof print.


4. Carve.


5. Use a brayer to apply layers of ink on your finished block. Then, lay your paper down on the wet block.


6. Use a barren(or a spoon) to press down on the paper. Rub in circles on the paper, and be sure to catch the edges. Be careful that the paper doesn't shift while you are printing.


7. Lift the paper off the linoleum block carefully.




Now with the tips:


1. Make use of markers: Color in the negative space with a black marker after you sketch on your block. Why? You can do without the proof print process, because you can already see what your block will look like when inked.


2. The carving tools are sharp: Yep, not much to say. Those blades look round but they can carve fingers just as well as linoleum. Carve with the blade facing away from your body. 


3. Apply many thin layers of ink: It might be tempting to smack on an ultra thick decisive layer of ink, but you don't want to be the one cleaning inside those thin lines if the ink gets stuck. It really doesn't come off.


4. Ink is extremely difficult to get off: You don't want to be wearing anything remotely white. And if the ink doesn't come off with water, trying rubbing it with cooking oil.


5. Be aware that the linoleum block prints reversed: Make sure to mirror your image, especially with texts.



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