Siren – three color reduction relief print

This is my first three-color reduction relief print.
It turned out to be a long (about 25 hours of work) and painful process (lots of disappointments on the way, or if you like, accidents, that did not wish to be happy).

The process begins with a rectangle of linoleum.
Below you can see an initial step. I drew my design on the linoleum and half carved the first color away. IMG_20150126_000453


Once the carving is done for the first color, the lino is printed on all copies of the prepared paper. I started with five newsprint, five Stonehenge and five Somerset sheets of paper. My first color was cyan, so whatever I was carving at this stage would show as white, while the rest would be cyan. When carving the second color, whatever is carved away would show as the color that was printed in the first stage, in my case – either cyan or white

The photograph below shows the result after printing the second color, medium tone turquoise.


The most important thing about multi-color prints is registration. There are two steps – registration of the lino to the registration sheet and registration of the paper to the registration sheet. Any misalignment, even so tiny, will result in a distorted print.

Rolling ink is also quite tricky. There is a specific sound that you need to get when rolling, otherwise you’ll get too much,  too little or uneven ink. Here is a rolling table.


The lino is put through the press – there is a specific order: registration sheet, acetate paper, lino, paper on which I am going to print, newsprint, cardboard, blanket.

IMG_20150203_102838 (1)

The nice thing about prints is that you can have many originals. Each one will be a little bit different. Here is a picture of my prints drying on a rack.


And here is one of the prints close up. It is too big to scan, so you’ll have to appreciate it from the photograph.

There are few aspects of this specific print that I like: the colors that I mixed, how they look together, the black background compared to the white on my drawing, the composition. I am also happy that I managed to align the colors so that the cyan, turquoise and the black are perfectly on top of each other on the thin lines of the body and leaves. Misalignment there would be visually very unpleasing.  I don’t like the smears of black color on the bottom. This is because I could not place the paper in one set and had to shift it a bit for better alignment. This is where you need the experience.

Next time I’ll choose a design that fits linocut media better: less thin long lines that are difficult to align, and a dark frame.

Categories: Print MakingTags: , , , , , , , ,

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