What is a linocut?
Original prints should not be confused with commercial printing and commercial limited editions prints, where an original artwork has been duplicated for the enjoyment of others, unable to own the original painting or drawing.
A linocut print as a medium has its own character in the same way as oils or watercolour. All are recognisable with their own style. The linocut print is the original vehicle for the artwork.
prints are all individually hand printed. At the First Draft stage, and there can only be one First Draft, the linocut plates are probably still being adjusted,
The Artist Proof stage is normally playing with the inks. I may have up to three Artist Proofs. For some images there are no First Drafts or Artist Proofs.
The main edition images are expected to be fairly similar to each other. Due to the hand printing and remixing of inks, there will be slight differences to each picture making then Original Prints. When there is said to be a print edition of for example forty five, only forty five will be produced for that title.
The process of creating a plate; after the initial drawing, the first linoblock is cut to size and this will become the master plate. The parts of the image not required to be inked on this plate are cut away. Further linoblocks are cut for any additional colours (allowing for overlapping of colours, producing stronger colours and in some cases additional colours). Illustrated on the following page is the first plate for 'Unexpected Snow' in the process of being cut away.
The final plate is ready for inking. The ink has to be prepared. 'Unexpected Snow' was a three plate print. An image can take two or three weeks of proof printing and waiting for each colour to dry before deciding on the correct combination and order of ink colours.
Each plate is inked by hand giving each print a slightly different quality. Once inked, the plate is ready for the Albion Press.
Hettie and the studio
August 2011, Hettie was taken out of retirement and restored back in to full working order. Hettie is an original 1859 Henry Watts Albion Press, Patent number 937.
'Unexpected Snow' hangs out to dry.
Each colour is printed separately and for this print the first colour has to dry before the second is applied.
The following processes are the main stages to creating the linocut print for ‘Unexpected Snow’.
The sketch pad. If it moves draw it. Every object, animal or person has to obey the laws of gravity. By sketching moving objects it helps to understand how something is put together.
Initial sketches for the linocut 'Unexpected Snow'
The finished linocut for 'Unexpected Snow'