So this is my fist posted tutorial on here and I'm sure it's been done before, but in case not, here is mine.
This was a class project for my color theory class. We did reduction linoleum prints, so that's what I will be talking about. Step 1: Creating your idea image
You can do this free hand- like I did, or you can find a computer/book image. Remember though that your image will be a reverse, so all words need to be carved backwards.Step 2: Gathering supplies
The supplies you need:
* Paper -good water color paper will work or ask your local craft store about block printing papers
* linoleum block
* speedball carving tool (speedball is the brand name I used-art media has a linoleum kit for 20.00 if you have one around you)
*Ink- (you can use other mediums as well they just have to be thick. I tried Acrylics and they are too thin or at least mine were. The ink I used was speedball. You can add small amounts of tempras to them to change colors though, so you dont have to buy several different inks. Unless you want to
* Retardant- You NEED this! It keeps your ink from drying out in seconds. No you can't add water, I tried. It become a horrible mess.
*Brayer- You can use a small house roller as well. A paint brush doesnt apply the ink evenly so its not a great idea for beginners like me.
*Mixing area- something to mix your paint/ink in. I used a kitchen plate because the inks/paint are non toxic. And water based- so they wash away even after dried.
*mixing utensil- if you oil paint, a paint knife is ideal. I used my kitchen butter knife and it worked fine. Just takes longer to completely mix ink.
*Press- you can buy one or make one-which I will talk about later. If you make one, you will need foam core and really tacky glue.
*Baby wipes- these are super awesome for cleaning your block, but not necassary.
*spoon or extra brayer- this will be for the actual pressing.
Anything else pictured is my kids' stuff. they were crafting with me that day.
On the left is the image in my notebook that I created for this project. I grided the image in order to transfer it onto my block. You can use carbon paper though if you image is the size or smaller of your block. Ink and pencil stay on very well through inking and washing. In the middle is my block. i have already cut away my first cut. On the right- is a colored copy of my image that I can use a a reference. This isnt necassary, but was a huge help for me.
Also, when planning your image, remember that you will go from lightest color (white if you want it) to darkest. It was helpful to me to write down each shade and which parts of the image I wanted that to be. So for example: shade 2 was her hair color. and remember that each shade/color can be multiple parts of your image. for example: the background and the shading on the pumpkin are the same color (see finished image).
Step 3: Make your press- (this can be skipped if you have a better method)
My "press" is made of foam core that I cut up and glued together. So cut your foam core inot a size larger than your block. You will need 2 " strips as well for the left or right side and then the top of the board. So remember that when cutting your base. (note: the 2" will give you 2" around on your paper. putting your image 2" for each side. These can be changed to any size you want.)
Now you will take your super tacky glue and glue down the first strip on top and side. Make sure that you line them up perfectly or you will have a hard time when it comes time to press. Continue to do this until your block is just slightly higher than the foam core side and top. I used tacks to secure my images to my press board, but you can also use tape. On to step 4.
Step 4: start cutting!
Remember that what you cut from the block should be the white areas. Like in mine, I cut out her face, arm, neck and the small lace area I wanted on the corset dress. When you have it the way you want, move to step 5. (see image above for my first cut in the block)
Step 5: prepare paper and ink
here you take small pieces of tape and fold them over on themselves , leaving a small sticky part on the bottom. Attatch the sticky part to the back of your paper. Now prepare the lightest shade you want. This will be your first color. Remember to add the retardant!
Roll the brayer into the ink and try to get an even coat on the brayer. This can be tricky. You'll get the hang of it after the first few tries.
Step 6: Ink away!
Attatch your tape tags with tacks to your foam press. I then drew lines on the press and marked it and the tape with a number. That way I can try to put it down in the same spot EVERY TIME. If you come up with a better way, PLEASE share it with me. This was the worst part. also if you try to put all the tape tags in the same spot on each paper sheet, it will make things easier. Learned that the hard way. ^-~ Now roll ink ontop your block. Place block firmly against top and side panels on your press board and gently push tacked paper onto the block. Take you spoon and firmly run it in circles ALL over the area the block is at. This will transfer ink from the block to your paper. See image below: note how the paper is attatched at top.
Gently peel the paper off the block when you are done. If you have an extra clean brayer, you can use that instead of the spoon. And metal or wood spoons will work. Just use a flat one. I used a tablesppon. If your color havs white spots that are not intentional, you either forgot the retardant and the ink strated to dry or you didnt applie enough ink. You can ink the block again and try to lay the paper in the same spot, or with these earlier colors (deepending on how many you do) it wont matter as it will most likely get covered up by another color with the next inking.
This is what you should have after you have pressed your image and pulled the paper back with the block still in your press:note the mirror image-
Now you have the option of "ghosting" which is where if you have tons of ink still on your block you can just apply the next paper. Or you can reink your block and press the next paper. or you can wash your block like you are supposed to and then reink your block. I didnt do that as I was having a hard time getting rid of the white spots. It seemed to help. But its a big no-no or so my teacher said. ^-~
Now hang that one up to dry somewhere. I put mine on the over hang in my kitchen so my kids wouldnt play with them.
Now when you are all done with inking your first set, wash your block. The baby wipes are really helpful here. Once your block is washed and dry (the block gets really fragile for cutting when wet), you can now cut out any areas of that color you just applied that you want to keep. So for example in the image below, I wanted to keep the hair a light color but wanted shaded areas. So I cut out on the block, the spots I wanted to keep the light areas. After the inking, it looked like the image below (which has had 3 inking and 3 cuts to the block done.
Then when finished with that, reink all your papers with the next darkest color. Which in the picture above would be the shading I wanted for the hair.
Now continue this process until you are done.
The next 2 images should give you a better idea of what I cut out to keep the lighter color and left for the darker color. The paper was inked and then I cut the block for the next inking. Notice the differences and where I wanted darker color.
And lastly, the final image after I cut 8 times and used 7 shades. The white spots are glitter I applied while it was drying. This is the bronze image so to speak. The best two got turned into my teacher and I was a dork and forgot to photograph them first. Notice how the line dont quite match up. This is due to me not putting my tape tags in the same spot.
Thanks for looking and I hope this helps anyone who wants to take a stab at reduction printing. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. i will do my best to answer them.