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How to hand print linocuts

How to hand print by hand lino cut linocut
Drawing / Linocut printing / Printing / Step by step demonstrations

How to hand print linocuts

As I learned quite fast, printing from linocut or woodcuts is all but quick and straightforward !

You might also be interested in :Getting started with Linocut printing

I was getting frustrated at the beginning because so many of my prints were not printed well enough and I had to throw away many bad prints on good paper.

Since then I learned a few tips that might help you if you want to try hand printing:

1- Make a test print with water based ink to see if you need to make adjustments to your plate

Before going in full print mode, test a few times your linocut plate with ink on regular paper. To do that I like to use a water based ink because it is easy to use, easy to wash and dries fast. I will use an oil based ink for the final prints but the water based ink works great for those quick tests.

Once you see your test print, you can make adjustments to your plate. I usually end up carving off a few bits here and there to clean up the print.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.


Blick Water-Soluble Block Printing Inks

Pigments are ground and milled to provide consistent good coverage without over-inking. Clean-up with water. 12 non-toxic colors in a variety of tube and jar sizes.

lino print you will get better results with oil based inks

2-The choice of Ink and Paper is very important

Different papers react differently with different inks so I would recommend you try different combinations until you find the materials that work best for you.

Right now, my favourite combinations are Gamblin oil based inks or Calligo inks with Bristol paper.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.


Canson XL Recycled Bristol Pads

The only recycled bristol on the market, these pads are designed to appeal to students, with superior construction and heavier weight covers. 96 lb (260 gsm) weight.

3- Don’t rush, it is going to take time

I think that was my main mistake, I expected a hand print to be done in a few minutes and it actually takes quite a while to print. You also need to be very focused.

Here are some tips:

a bowl of baby powder works great to avoid transferring ink on your clean paper

    • If printing with oil based ink, you will see that it is difficult to not get ink on your fingers that will later transfer to your paper. Some artists use gloves when inking the plate but I find it a bit inconvenient. My favourite solution is to have a bowl of baby powder next to my printing area and dip my fingers into the talc before touching the clean paper. It absorbs the oil paint and prevent transferring it on your clean paper.
    • I tried many different objects to help with printing : Different kinds of barren, wooden and metal spoons, a kitchen pin roll. What actually works the best for me is a smooth medium sized river rock!

You can see me using the river rock on this video, this is a time lapse as the rubbing with the river rock will last at least 5 minutes:

4-Drying the prints

What works the best for me is to have the prints dry on a laundry line:

hand prints drawing on a laundry line

I also sometimes pin them to a wall in the studio:

pin prints to dry in the studio

or I lay them flat on a table:

laying prints flat to dry

linoprints by North Vancouver artist Sandrine Pelissier

As always, I would love to hear from you and your experiences with linoprinting in the comments!

Feel free to share picture of your work as well.

4.7/5 - (10 votes)

Comments (6)

  1. Eileen

    Thank you Sandrine for sharing your process.

    1. Thanks Eileen 😉

  2. Sonia Leggett

    Stunning prints! Very effective with your signature patterning in the background.

    1. Thanks Sonia! I am glad you liked them 🙂

      1. Sonia Leggett

        My prints are not as ambitious as yours, but you might be interested in this little machine – see my blog post here

        1. yes, I have one ! I need to make my prints a bit smaller though so I can use it more.

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