2. Transferring the design onto lino
The final print is a mirror image of the original piece of lino, so it must be reversed. I trace my design using a soft pencil, then reverse the paper so the pencil lines are facing down on the line and retrace with a biro so the image transfers onto the lino.
3. Carving the design. Using a tool called a gouger I carve away the white parts first, leaving the areas I want to be inked. For multiple colours, I repeat this stage after each colour has been printed. This is called the 'reduction method'. With each subsequent colour more of the piece of lino is cut away, consequently the process cannot be repeated because it is gradually being destroyed!
5. Registration marks
For multiple colours I have to make sure I get the paper in exactly the right place with each subsequent pass of the press. To do this I mark on the press bed exactly where the lino has to lie and exactly where I have to place the left hand side of the paper. This ensures that the print appears in the right place on the paper and for multiple colours and that it prints in the same place each time.
I roll printing ink very thinly onto a slab of glass and then apply it to the lino. Then I place the inked lino on the press bed and carefully lie my paper over the top. I smooth over the top of it with a flat hand; this loosely fixes the paper in place before I apply the pressure of the press.
1. Designing the image
I work from a combination of observational drawings, photographic references and from my imagination. At this stage I am already considering the practicalities of working with the lino, such as the size and shape of the lino; the physical limitations of the lino and how intricate a design it will allow.
Just as the term ‘painting’ describes a category of disciplines within Fine Art, so does the term ‘printmaking’. The main characteristic most of them have in common is that the process involves the transfer of an image from an indirect source. Many are capable of producing multiple copies of nearly identical images, however because they are hand-made each copy is likely to have minor differences. Even though some methods might be suitable for creating large numbers of prints, the artist-printmaker is often more interested in the creative aspect of the discipline, so may choose to produce only very small numbers of prints.