I just finished my first Linocut in my printmaking class and it turned out to be a rather fun process. Now that I know a little more about the medium there are some things I would have done differently but unlike an oil painting, you can’t go back and rework something you’re not satisfied with. What’s cut out, is cut out.
A Linocut is a printing technique similar to that of woodcarving where the image is reversed when printed. All that is carved is white and all that is left will be printed in black oil based ink. A good rule of thumb for an image is having at least 50% of it black.
As I continued to work through the sketching process I had to make decisions on what I wanted to keep black and how I was going to obtain texture and variety in the work to keep it interesting.
As I began to carve into the Linoleum it became clearer how I wanted things to look. I made the decision to approach it with more of design quality so I chose to use varying horizontal lines to make up the sky and haloed the boats and birds to make sure they were distinguished and visible. I used variations of crosshatching in the boat and smaller wavy lines to represent the water.
Once I ran the first test print it was apparent that I wasn’t finished with the image. It lacked interest and seemed far too predictable. So I decided to go back in and add more texture to the sky by cross-hatching forms for clouds and variation in the smaller boats to create more of a harmonious relationship between the large focal-point boat and the background. Above is the first test print I made.