A blog of my OCA printmaking level 1 coursework



Task 1: Project 8. A reduction method lino print


The aim of this project was to learn about the reduction method of lino printing. This method uses a single block of lino which has each additional coloured area cut away after every print run. I had to choose an image that could be simplified for the technique of lino printing, one which had good textures but not too much detail. Advance planning is very important in reduction printing because once the block is cut and the first layer printed there can be no going back.

As I admitted in the last assignment I have had trouble seeing the simple image behind a subject and have been having to squint my eyes partly closed to eliminate detail. I found it a bit easier this time by using a computer to play around with my reference photos. I don’t consider using my computer as cheating because I still have to use my own judgement and eye to select the final image to print, the computer is just a tool. I used my Adobe photoshop software to posterise and then paint over my reference photo. I chose the snow scene because this winter has seen the heaviest snowfall in the last 20 years and it turned my World into a winter wonderland. I wanted to portray this crisp, clean, fresh feeling place into a Christmas card like image. I chose the photo of my next door neighbours kids playing next to the summer house because I liked the irony as well as the composition.

I settled on using three blues, two browns and the white paper highlights as the minimum number of colours I wanted. I planned all my layers before I started to cut and actually found this easy. I decided to try an easy cut lino block for this print, the material is nice to cut but I had problems trying to transfer the image to the slightly greasy feeling surface and ended up having to use a permanent marker pen. I cut the whites out of the block and slipped taking a small nick out of the frame edge, annoying but I decided to continue as I didn’t have another A4 block. I mixed my ink for the first print run thinking that I had mixed plenty. I had planned on doing a run of 25 prints but ran out of ink before I had done that many. Lesson learned, mix enough and then add a bit more.

Layers 1-5


reduction print 'Winter summer-house'

I used a jig to register all of the subsequent layers since this worked best for me in the multi block printing. I ;had a good high success rate from the prints and I am overall very happy with the results of my ‘winter summer-house’ reduction print.

 I made a further reduction print of a ee on a Elecampgne flower using a plywood block and my new Christmas present of linseed oil inks.  

reduction print 'Bee'


Cutting the plywood board was a lot easier than I expected but it is very easy to accidentally take out a splinter along the grain, I found that I needed to be carefull to outline cut any fine details.

The oil based inks had a lot more tack than the water based inks that I had used so far and the coverage was lovely, I just wish the clean up was easier.  I will use these inks for selected projects because the finish on the prints is great but for samples and tests I think I will keep mainly to the water based inks which can be cleaned away with just water and soap. I might later on stretch to some ‘safewash’ type easy clean oil based inks to try the difference.

This image of the Bee was actually my second reduction print on this theme. The first I felt left the Bee looking a little lost and too small to be a good focal point.

My first reduction print of Bee


Task 2: Project 9. Experimental mark making on Lino


For this project I needed to experiment with different tools to create a new range of marks, cuts and textures on Lino and then print the plates.

I used some Quartz rocks and stones for the first test plate and made marks by scratching and hitting the Lino.

Quartz and rocks


Print from rocks


I Used a variety of items for the next test block  including a scalloped shell, pliers and screwdrivers.


Tools use on test plate 2


test 2 with various tools

 The 3 marks on the right were made with a dremmel multi tool and the others were made using the items in the photo above the print. The next stage was to think about what subjects the marks might suggest for future projects.



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