Multi-Color Linoleum Printmaking

This video shows multi-color linoleum block printing techniques from beginning to end, in order to create an editorial illustration. The process begins by brainstorming ideas from an article in the New York Times, and then transitions into drawing a mind map and into drawing thumbnail sketches.

Techniques for carving into the linoleum are done, showing a variety of different marks that can be made with the linoleum cutter. Printing techniques are covered as well as the elimination technique which allows for several colors to be printed from a single linoleum block. Demo led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

58 min. video

Video Walkthrough

  • Choosing a newspaper article
  • Brainstorming
  • Mind Maps
  • Avoiding art cliches
  • Thumbnail Sketches
  • Tracing paper for sketches
  • Relief vs. Intaglio printmaking
  • Mounted vs. Unmounted linoleum
  • Preparing the block
  • Water vs. Oil Based Ink
  • Sketch to Block
  • Heating the block with an iron
  • Tools and Safety
  • Carving
  • Blade sizes, grip, hand position
  • Elimination block techniques
  • Carving techniques
  • Tearing Paper
  • Proofing with graphite
  • Rolling techniques
  • Hand-printing
  • Registration
  • Printing
  • Pulling the print
  • Inking
  • Ink viscosity
  • Editions of prints
  • Color gradients
  • Signing Prints

Prof Lieu’s Tips

The mindset that you have when you’re working on an artwork is immensely impactful, and often does dictate our creative decisions. Often we think it’s all about whether we added blue, or chose to make a change in a composition.

I’ve seen working with students in the classroom that a shift of mindset can completely change the direction and progress in a piece. Nothing has changed in terms of what their hands are physically doing, but because they pivot in another direction, the artwork changes.

Linoleum Tip

Unmounted linoleum is a lot cheaper, but it’s a pain to work with!

At some point you’ll need to wash the ink off your linoleum sheet, and getting the sheet wet will cause the linoleum to warp. The warping makes it a lot tougher to get a clean print.

If you can afford it, it’s really worth it to buy mounted linoleum blocks.

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