Print making


Adding a second color to a linocut, part one

Photo of desk, showing two versions of the same print. One digital version on an iPad, and a printed version on paper. There is a tracing paper taped on top of the paper print, used to draw and define fields of color.

Left: Original drawing in Procreate | Right: Coloring an old linocut test print via tracing paper.

Close-up of a drawing on tracing paper. A blurry view of the original image can be seen in through the paper.

Above: Finished color blobs on tracing paper. Going to transfer these to a fresh linoleum sheet to cut a color plate.

Mentioned, in yesterday’s daily doodle post, that I’m going to try my hand at a color lino print. I’ve been wondering how to transfer the digital color layer from Procreate onto a linoleum sheet. For the black print, I smeared a laser print-out with acetone to loosen the toner, and then rubbed it off on the lino. It helped, but the results were unsatisfying: a faint image that I had to draw all over again, by hand.

Didn’t want to do that again, so I’m trying tracing paper instead. Taped some across an old test print, blocked out the colored areas, and ringed them with a pen. In theory, I should be able to flip the paper over and mark the blobs on a lino sheet using a pin, pen or knife. We’ll see how it goes.

The wood filler from yesterday worked beautifully for cutting, by the way. Still anxious to find out how it prints.

Fixing linocut mistakes with wood filler

Using wood filler to patch a linocut.
Close-ups of linocut plate with splotches of wood filler. New details have been drawn onto the hardened filler.

I’m trying to learn the craft of linocut and make it a hobby, but so far (over the last decade) I’ve only made something like 4 prints. Still get into it from time to time! I must have started on this snake print back in 2020, as a learner project. I cut this plate with gusto, having heard one can use wood filler to fix cutting mistakes later. Now I’m going to find out if that’s actually true, and if it is as easy as it sounds. (Is it ever?) To be continued.

The other things to learn are about color printing, but that’s a whole different beast.