Experimental Mark Making on lino


I used a variety of tools:

toolsCutting implements: Knife, Pizza cutter, Saw blade, Bread Knife, Compass, etching needle; Impression making tools: Spanner, Apple corer, Pliers, Fork, darts, awl, keys, screw drivers. Dremel engraving tool.

Initially I found it hard to make impressions with the differing tools into the lino. Getting a hammer and banging them into the block helped somewhat.

I wanted to see how mark could be made in a piece of softcut vinyl also, this was difficult to achieve anything substantial as the material kept self sealing itself.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREAfter printing my first attempts, I could see that some marks showed up well but most did not with any great definition.

I decided to go back to the block and warm it under a hot water bottle to make the material more pliable. This made the mark making a lot easier but the lino crumble when I cut it with a blade.

For inking this time I wanted to be a bit more experimental. Using the instructions in the course handbook, I made a number of different sized pounces from cotton wool material and string. These I use to ink the block. It was difficult to ascertain the right amount of ink to use, as I was mindful that too much ink would obliterate the fine lines in the block.

The first image was too light so I added further ink and got a better effect. I liked the atmosphere from this technique.

Next I tried to rainbow roll the block. Due to not having a roller wide enough to cover the whole block in one pass, so I fudged the process by rolling different colour inks on each end then blending them in the middle with the pounce. This meant the middle area was a bit thinner and didn’t print as evenly but I liked the effect and is something I may return to at the end of the course.


What went well?

  • Created a wide range of interesting marks.
  • Using different inking methods added interest and created atmosphere.
  • In terms of colour using complimentary pairs created harmony.

What was challenging / didn’t go so well?

  • The fine lines did not print coherently.
  • The lino was hard to penetrate with these tools, meaning I had to warm the lino. Heating it too much led to crumbling effects in places.
  • It was difficult to ascertain how much ink to put on the block when using the pounce and pretty impossible to get a completely even print. That said, I think that the effects of under-inking in places leads to more atmosphere and feeling which can be exploited.


  • I would like to explore some of these mark-making effects and inking in the next set of prints.