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.
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.
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:
- 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:
I also sometimes pin them to a wall in the studio:
or I lay them flat on a table:
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.