I have admired print artists for a very long time. The art of Lino printing dates back as far as the 1890s but more contemporary work by artists like The Black Pug Press or Ink Press Repeat are so inspiring and look so ridiculously complicated so I have come into this process with more than a little trepidation and very little hope of creating anything worthwhile. That being said, I love paper, paint, ink, creating and experimenting so when I got the chance to try it out I really could not resist.
Spurred on by a YouTube video by Mira Byler , I decided to give it a proper go. After all, it is experimenting and the worst that can happen is that I end up with some more scrap paper to make collages.
I purchased the Essdee Lino Cutting and Printing Kit from Hobbycraft and read the instructions fully. It seemed simple but so scary. The Lino itself is not the cheapest thing to replace if you make a mistake so there would be no starting from scratch and no undo button, I would have to print whatever I managed to carve.
I decided that I didn’t want to try and carve anything too fiddly or small so it had to be a dinosaur of course but a dino with a difference. This one has fairy wings simply because when I was drawing on the tracing paper I had an image of wings underneath from a previous project and they just looked too cute not to add them. The following pictures are in no way intended as a tutorial, I am still not sure if I am doing this correctly but this is what I created and how I created it.
I spent a long time cutting out all of the details, the wings took a lot of brain work to figure out which bits to carve and which bits to leave. Seeing him all inked up though and ready to print was the best thing ever, it was as though the ink had bought him to life. I have never been so nervous with a new art supply I don’t think than testing this print for the first time. At this point I had spent hours on it and might end up with something awful. I took my time and held my breath as I positioned the paper on top of the lino. When I lifted it off I actually squealed with delight. It was even better than I thought it would be, it has little whispy bits where I didn’t quite carve every bit but I actually like that about it. It looks and feels handmade and not digital which is exactly what I was hoping for.
I used the off cuts to make the little cup shown below. I almost immediately ordered metallic ink and a few colours although the more I do, the more I am preferring the black ink. I have spent a few evenings now carving Lino, it has become quite addictive. I am not sure where it will feature in my illustration work, it may never but it is giving me a new perspective on shape and silhouette that will inform my art in the future. I may even make some prints for my Folksy shop if I ever create something that I am 100% happy with. For now it is a relaxing hobby that makes my brain work just a little harder.
It is a terrifying art form to get into to begin with, you just don’t know what you will end up with but there are few mediums that are as rewarding at the end and the bonus is that once you have carved something you are happy with you can print it over and over as much as you like. Look out for more Lino printing on my social medias in the future because I will definitely be creating more!
Thank you so much for reading my blog, if you have more print artists that you think I should see please let me know! Or if you have any tips and tricks that might of been missing from the starter set too, that would be really helpful too.