Markus Naerheim
Markus Naerheim

Previous post: How to Make a Linocut

Printing the Linocut

Inking the Bay of Hope linocut

After completing the linocut for my new novel Bay of Hope, I was now ready to print.

 

Depending on what you plan to do with the artwork, paper choice is important when making a print. Thin paper absorbs ink better, but thicker custom paper is better for prints that you may want to sell or frame. Either way, it is important to use acid-free paper so the work won’t deteriorate over time. I used a medium weight, quality drawing paper, given that I was going to scan my image and import it into Photoshop and Illustrator to develop the final cover art for Bay of Hope.
 
Inking and printing is a fairly straight-forward process. To make prints you will need a good workspace such as a table or bench, an inking block (in my case, I used a glass plate), a medium-sized roller, and some oil-based ink. Too large of a roller and you end up dripping ink all over your workspace: too small, and you have to run it over your image many times, resulting in uneven coverage.

A fresh piece of linoleum absorbs a lot of ink, so be liberal with the application. The first images will come out light until the surface of the linocut has absorbed enough ink. It is also important to apply even pressure to the surface when you transfer the inked image to paper. To avoid uneven inking, a large spoon is helpful; its convex outer surface can help focus the pressure as you glide it around the image, especially in the hard to ink corners. In areas that have a lot of negative space removed, it is important not to press so hard that you ink what you want to remain blank. Still, this is part of the character of a linocut: the texture and grain of your carving can show up in the final image, and you can control, to some degree, how rough your image will be.

The Bay of Hope print

Ultimately, I was pleased to see that my final print came out as I had hoped: dark and ominous, like the calm before the storm.

 

In the image, I depicted the setting and important icons and themes of my novel Bay of Hope.
 
La Santa Muerte or Saint Death, patron of the Mexican narcos, looms over the peaceful fictitious fishing village of Esperanza. Next to her, on a hill below the full moon, is the old Spanish church. Down on the beach, pangas, or open-hulled fishing boats, float in the ocean. If you look closely, you can see the image of a crab on the restaurant/bar El Cangrejo, and a dolphin sculpture spouting water on the town’s Malecón, or boardwalk. The hotel La Palma, with its palm tree marquee, can be spied up a side street in the Old Town.

Read Chapter 1 of Bay of Hope!

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