ArtFocus: Linocut

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By: J. Raven Yep

Above: Elizabeth Catlett’s Sharecropper

Linocut is an excellent printmaking technique to begin with. Tate UK defines linocut as “a relief print produced in a manner similar to woodcut. The wooden block has a thin layer of linoleum which can be cut away in any direction to produce a raised surface that can be inked and printed.”

The process of preparing the block is relatively simple. After experimenting with the tools, you can quickly produce a striking ‘sketched-like’ image, either monochrome or multi-coloured. A printing press is not essential so you can satisfactorily complete a piece without access to specialised printing facilities.

Linoleum is not suitable for very fine line work because of its pliability. Fine lines may break down in the course of cutting or printing. Make use of the material’s strong graphic potential instead to exploit bold patterns. Printing in two or three colours allows many possibilities for texturing and shading the image.

Learn how linocut is done at FIMP.

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