Firstly i sketch out a design on paper. Once I have a design I’m happy with I then transfer this onto lino by hand drawing. Next I start the carving process using hand tools to carve away the areas of the design that will be the negative or white spaces. This will leave a raised design ready for printing.
Once the block is finished and carved I then print a proof, this is a test print to see if I am happy with the design and what colours I have chosen to print with. The final stage is the inking process. This involves mixing colours by rolling onto glass so it can be easily cleaned and reused. Once the ink is rolled to an even consistency and the desired colour, I then evenly roll this onto the block, making sure there is a good amount of ink.
I then place the inked covered block into the traditional etching press and carefully align the handmade paper into position. This is covered with more paper and a felt blanket. I then carefully turn the handle and compress the design into the paper. Every colour requires undergoing the same process as described a number of times and carefully realigning (registering) the blocks so they print each colour in the correct position according to the design.
OPEN AND LIMITED EDITIONS
If the same block is used to print every colour layer as with a reduction print the block cannot be used again after a limited run (as it will be carved away). The print then becomes a limited edition as only a certain number of that design can be printed and no more. Open editions use different blocks for different colours that can be reused. This may be referred to as early or late editions depending on how old or degraded the original block is. Wood for instance degrades over time differently to lino. The printmaker may also choose to not reuse the original block and may only complete a limited number of prints.