Project 5: Preparing a test linocut

First Test block (20x30cm – softcut)

test linocutUsing softcut lino for this first sheet, I followed the instructions in the course materials and used all tools I had available.

• Marks not particularly ambitious – just getting used to holding tools initially.
• No surprise – found more expensive Japanese powergrip tools sharper and easier to use.
• Found marks made by V-tools preferable to me – probably because they can be quite delicate, this suits my growing interests.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE• Borrowed some large woodcarving chisels – have no mallet so found it difficult to make a mark. I was surprised that these little scratches still produced some textural marks when printing. I will come back to using these tools when I get to experimental mark-making in part three of the course.


I used watersoluble relief inks to print the block.
• Pros – really quick & easy to clean up – useful for quick proofing.
• Cons – I found they dried very quickly on the block. Not very useful for larger work.

I chose to print again using oil based inks which gave a much sharper, crisper print.

Second Test Block (20x30cm – Japanese vinyl)

test linocut2• More considered with my approach.
• Focused on using smaller number of tools that I preferred using and one row of each: size 2 – v; size 3 – v; size 3 – u; size 5 – v; size 6 – u.
• The final row I used ‘fast cutting’ which is a concept that I read about in book “Making Woodcuts” (see bibliography for reference details). I really liked the energy produced by using these free gestural marks. I feel these could work alongside more controlled parts within a linocut.


For this block I used caligo safewash oil inks on newsprint.
• Took a number of passes before I got a good clean, even print.
• A number of factors are important: the right amount of ink & consistent burnishing all over the back of the paper – remembering to pay attention to the edges.
• I found the printing process to be hard work in terms of energy used. In future I will need to pace myself and take lots of regular rests in order not to exacerbate my health condition.

Third Test Block (15x20cm – Japanese vinyl)

test linocut3• For Xmas I received two Pfeil swiss wood cutting tools– a V – size 2; and a U- size 1. I had asked for these as they are able to be resharpened and in the long run they are more cost effective than continually buying new blades for the cheaper versions, plus they are much more comfortable to use.
• I tried these on a small piece of vinyl – the smaller sizes will suit my preference for more delicate mark making.

• My mum has a small dremel engraving tool that she I lending me, so I also had a play with this on the same block.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE• This made interesting marks. In certain areas the friction actually melted the vinyl so there were a number of burrs and rough edges created. When I use the tool in the future I need to remember to use proper lino.


Again I used oil inks.
• This was a challenge – I sanded down the rough edges on the block as much as possible but there was still some raising. This made it very difficult to get an even print all over. The best print I managed was a clean print but the sharp edges had produced a hole in the paper.

Overall Outcome

Looking at the marks I have produced in these test blocks there seems to be a nice range. It is interesting how the more delicate, feathery organic lines have become more prevalent which possibly ties in with my tutor’s suggestions of developing my ‘fragile style’. This is something that I would like to develop and I am hoping that I can find subjects that will marry up with this approach.


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