Linocut Carving Strategies for Rookies

Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend is a brand new e-book by Margate based mostly linocut artist and printmaker, Nick Morley. Printed by Skittledog (an imprint of Thames & Hudson Ltd.) the e-book guides you thru the instruments and supplies you will want, and gives numerous tasks to get you began. Beneath is a chapter from the e-book that outlines the varied linocut carving methods you should utilize to familiarise your self with linocutting earlier than you make a begin.


Linocut Carving Techniques

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Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend – Linocut Carving Strategies

Textual content by Nick Morley | Images by Rita Platts

Carving lino might be very enjoyable; some individuals discover it virtually addictive. Like every ability, it takes observe to construct up your confidence. Earlier than you sort out any of the tasks I recommend you carve a take a look at block to get used to the instruments, and check out all of the completely different methods that observe. The tasks every use a number of of those methods. You’ll be able to refer again to this part at any time if you happen to want a reminder.


What You Will Want

• Lino block

• Everlasting marker pen or acrylic paint

• Paper towel

• Reducing instruments

• Non-slip mat


Begin by making a take a look at block to experiment with carving a wide range of marks and to get a really feel for the completely different instruments. You should use the instance on web page 21 as a information however be at liberty to check out your individual concepts. Don’t fear about making your marks appear like a coherent design, consider it extra like a sampler which you’ll refer again to. After you have completed carving your take a look at block, print it by following the directions within the Printing part.

Earlier than you begin, color within the floor of the block with the marker pen or brush some acrylic paint diluted with water onto the floor after which wipe it off with a paper towel. You need simply sufficient to stain the floor, with out leaving any bumps or ridges of paint. This stage is non-obligatory, however makes it simpler to see your carved marks. The components of the lino you take away are going to be white, assuming you might be printing on white paper. Colouring the block helps your mind get used to this, because the components you carve out will seem lighter than the uncut areas.


Linocut Carving Techniques


Linocut Carving Security

The instruments are sharp, so to keep away from slicing your self, all the time carve away out of your arms and away out of your physique. You’ll need to carry the lino together with your second hand, so ensure you are holding it to the aspect or behind your slicing device. Place a non-slip mat underneath the block if you find yourself carving to cease it transferring round.


Holding the Instruments

Maintain the device so the deal with is within the centre of your palm. Your fingers needs to be pretty relaxed, together with your first finger pointing straight down the shaft. Make certain the device is the proper approach up, with the innovative pointing straight down.

The angle you maintain the device at will decide whether or not the slicing tip strikes ahead in a stage approach as you push on the device, or strikes up or down. By elevating or reducing your wrist you may management this. Elevate your wrist barely to make a steeper angle and the device will go deeper into the lino. Decrease your wrist to make a shallower angle to deliver the slicing tip again up in the direction of the floor. In between it’s best to discover the precise angle at which the device travels ahead in a steady line. This angle could fluctuate between instruments.


The precise angle that you must maintain the device will fluctuate barely relying on which device you might be utilizing.


Two widespread issues can occur right here. If the device goes too deep it may well begin to tear the lino, and even get caught utterly. If this occurs, decrease your wrist barely to deliver the slicing tip up. However, if the device retains skidding and you’re feeling that you just’re not 
in management, deliver your wrist up barely so the slicing 
tip goes down. These changes are delicate and take 
a bit time to grasp, however it’s higher to practise now 
so you may management your slicing if you do your 
first venture.

One can find that it’s a must to push more durable with the bigger instruments, as you might be eradicating extra lino. Attempt to push the device together with your entire arm, utilizing your physique weight to generate the drive. While you use the smaller instruments or make shallower cuts, you want much less drive – a small motion of the wrist could also be sufficient. Your slicing approach will develop over time, however do attempt to preserve all the pieces relaxed as a lot as doable … and keep in mind to breathe!


Linocut Carving Techniques


Take a look at Block Print Key

1. Different widths of line made by completely different instruments. Discover how the 2 ends of every line you carve are formed by the device. Prime to backside: 1 mm U, 3 mm U, 5 mm U, 1 mm V, massive V (shallow minimize), massive V (deep minimize).

2. Strains with a sq. finish. Prime to backside: 3 mm U, 5 mm U, massive V.

3. Curved traces. Prime to backside: 1 mm V, 1 mm U, 3 mm U.

4. Different width line made with massive V.

5. Circle made with 3 mm U.

6. Dots. Prime to backside: 1 mm U, 3 mm U, 5 mm U.

7. Semicircles made with 3 mm and 5 mm U. Triangles made with massive V.

8. Stars made with massive V.

9–10. Massive V.

11. Massive V carving with sideways and up-and-down movement.

12. Massive U semicircles.

13. 1 mm U wavy traces.

14. Massive V tapered traces.

15–17. 3 mm U.

18. 1 mm V.

19–21. 5 mm U.


Carving a straight line

Practise making straight, even traces of various lengths in your take a look at block with every of your instruments. A good width of line is greatest made with a U-shaped device, with the scale of device figuring out the width. Use the massive V-shaped device to chop a wide range of widths of line, together with a really wonderful line.


Different width of line

By various the depth of the device you may make the road wider or narrower. That is particularly efficient with the V-shaped device. Elevate and decrease your wrist as you carve. Strive a curved line by transferring your wrist backward and forward in addition to up and down.


Making a line with a sq. finish

As a substitute of reducing your wrist on the finish of a line, cease the device the place you need the road to finish, leaving the lino shaving hooked up to the block. Deliver the slicing tip straight again about 2–3mm. Elevate the slicing tip to bend the lino shaving up and over till it breaks off.

Linocut Carving Techniques


Carving a circle

To make a circle or a pronounced curve, rotate the block as you carve. This method is simpler with a U-shaped device and with out the non-slip mat. Lean into the device and push the block in opposition to it together with your different hand, being cautious to not minimize in the direction of your fingers. Rotate the block as you narrow, protecting your slicing hand regular.


Curved traces

Light curves might be made by transferring your wrist or arm left and proper as you narrow forwards. Extra pronounced curves could require you to maneuver your entire physique. Attempt to preserve your hand stage as you progress, so the slicing tip of the device stays upright.

Linocut Carving Techniques


Little semicircles and triangles

To make a semicircle, maintain the U-shaped device at 45 levels and stick it into the lino, then pull it again out midway. Elevate the device to bend the piece of lino again on itself till it breaks off. Triangles might be made in the identical approach as semicircles, however utilizing a big V-shaped device.



You can also make different-sized dots utilizing every of the U-shaped instruments. Maintain the device at 45 levels and stick it into the lino a bit approach, then maintain the device regular when you rotate the block round it in a circle. The dots is not going to all the time be completely spherical, however with a bit observe you may get them fairly shut.

Linocut Carving Techniques



To make a star, carve inwards from the tip of every level of the star in the direction of the centre utilizing the massive V-shaped device. Maintain the device at a steep angle so the purpose goes down in the direction of the centre of the star.



Textual content Copyright © 2023 Nick Morley
Images Copyright © 2023 Rita Platts
Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend printed by Skittledog (an imprint of Thames & Hudson Ltd.)



Additional Studying

Linocut Printmaking for Rookies – What You Have to Get Began

Sharpening Linocut Instruments

Prime Linocut Ideas From Main Printmakers

5 Beneficial Pfeil Instruments for Linocut


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