Linocut Carving Methods for Newbies

Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend is a brand new e book by Margate based mostly linocut artist and printmaker, Nick Morley. Revealed by Skittledog (an imprint of Thames & Hudson Ltd.) the e book guides you thru the instruments and supplies you’ll need, and offers quite a lot of initiatives to get you began. Beneath is a chapter from the e book that outlines the assorted linocut carving methods you need to use to familiarise your self with linocutting earlier than you make a begin.

Linocut Carving Techniques

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Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend – Linocut Carving Methods

Textual content by Nick Morley | Pictures by Rita Platts

Carving lino may be very enjoyable; some folks discover it nearly addictive. Like every ability, it takes follow to construct up your confidence. Earlier than you deal with any of the initiatives I recommend you carve a take a look at block to get used to the instruments, and check out all of the completely different methods that comply with. The initiatives every use a number of of those methods. You may refer again to this part at any time should you want a reminder.

What You Will Want

• Lino block

• Everlasting marker pen or acrylic paint

• Paper towel

• Slicing instruments

• Non-slip mat

Begin by making a take a look at block to experiment with carving a wide range of marks and to get a really feel for the completely different instruments. You should use the instance on web page 21 as a information however be at liberty to check out your individual concepts. Don’t fear about making your marks appear like a coherent design, consider it extra like a sampler which you’ll be able to refer again to. After you have completed carving your take a look at block, print it by following the directions within the Printing part.

Earlier than you begin, color within the floor of the block with the marker pen or brush some acrylic paint diluted with water onto the floor after which wipe it off with a paper towel. You need simply sufficient to stain the floor, with out leaving any bumps or ridges of paint. This stage is non-obligatory, however makes it simpler to see your carved marks. The elements of the lino you take away are going to be white, assuming you might be printing on white paper. Colouring the block helps your mind get used to this, because the elements you carve out will seem lighter than the uncut areas.

Linocut Carving Techniques

Linocut Carving Security

The instruments are sharp, so to keep away from slicing your self, all the time carve away out of your arms and away out of your physique. You will have to carry the lino along with your second hand, so be sure to are holding it to the aspect or behind your slicing device. Place a non-slip mat beneath the block if you end up carving to cease it shifting round.

Holding the Instruments

Maintain the device so the deal with is within the centre of your palm. Your fingers ought to be pretty relaxed, along with your first finger pointing straight down the shaft. Be sure that the device is the precise means up, with the leading edge pointing straight down.

The angle you maintain the device at will decide whether or not the slicing tip strikes ahead in a degree means as you push on the device, or strikes up or down. By elevating or decreasing your wrist you possibly can management this. Elevate your wrist barely to make a steeper angle and the device will go deeper into the lino. Decrease your wrist to make a shallower angle to convey the slicing tip again up in direction of the floor. In between you must discover the precise angle at which the device travels ahead in a steady line. This angle might range between instruments.

The precise angle it is advisable maintain the device will range barely relying on which device you might be utilizing.

Two widespread issues can occur right here. If the device goes too deep it may possibly begin to tear the lino, and even get caught utterly. If this occurs, decrease your wrist barely to convey the slicing tip up. Then again, if the device retains skidding and you are feeling that you simply’re not 
in management, convey your wrist up barely so the slicing 
tip goes down. These changes are refined and take 
a bit time to grasp, however it’s higher to practise now 
so you possibly can management your slicing whenever you do your 
first undertaking.

You will discover that it’s a must to push more durable with the bigger instruments, as you might be eradicating extra lino. Attempt to push the device along with your complete arm, utilizing your physique weight to generate the drive. Whenever you use the smaller instruments or make shallower cuts, you want much less drive – a small motion of the wrist could also be sufficient. Your slicing approach will develop over time, however do attempt to preserve the whole lot relaxed as a lot as attainable … and keep in mind to breathe!

Linocut Carving Techniques

Take a look at Block Print Key

1. Diverse widths of line made by completely different instruments. Discover how the 2 ends of every line you carve are formed by the device. High to backside: 1 mm U, 3 mm U, 5 mm U, 1 mm V, giant V (shallow minimize), giant V (deep minimize).

2. Strains with a sq. finish. High to backside: 3 mm U, 5 mm U, giant V.

3. Curved traces. High to backside: 1 mm V, 1 mm U, 3 mm U.

4. Diverse width line made with giant V.

5. Circle made with 3 mm U.

6. Dots. High to backside: 1 mm U, 3 mm U, 5 mm U.

7. Semicircles made with 3 mm and 5 mm U. Triangles made with giant V.

8. Stars made with giant V.

9–10. Giant V.

11. Giant V carving with sideways and up-and-down movement.

12. Giant U semicircles.

13. 1 mm U wavy traces.

14. Giant V tapered traces.

15–17. 3 mm U.

18. 1 mm V.

19–21. 5 mm U.

Carving a straight line

Practise making straight, even traces of various lengths in your take a look at block with every of your instruments. A fair width of line is finest made with a U-shaped device, with the scale of device figuring out the width. Use the big V-shaped device to chop a wide range of widths of line, together with a really positive line.

Diverse width of line

By various the depth of the device you can also make the road wider or narrower. That is particularly efficient with the V-shaped device. Elevate and decrease your wrist as you carve. Attempt a curved line by shifting your wrist backward and forward in addition to up and down.

Making a line with a sq. finish

As a substitute of decreasing your wrist on the finish of a line, cease the device the place you need the road to finish, leaving the lino shaving connected to the block. Carry the slicing tip straight again about 2–3mm. Elevate the slicing tip to bend the lino shaving up and over till it breaks off.

Linocut Carving Techniques

Carving a circle

To make a circle or a pronounced curve, rotate the block as you carve. This system is simpler with a U-shaped device and with out the non-slip mat. Lean into the device and push the block towards it along with your different hand, being cautious to not minimize in direction of your fingers. Rotate the block as you narrow, maintaining your slicing hand regular.

Curved traces

Light curves may be made by shifting your wrist or arm left and proper as you narrow forwards. Extra pronounced curves might require you to maneuver your complete physique. Attempt to preserve your hand degree as you progress, so the slicing tip of the device stays upright.

Linocut Carving Techniques

Little semicircles and triangles

To make a semicircle, maintain the U-shaped device at 45 levels and stick it into the lino, then pull it again out midway. Elevate the device to bend the piece of lino again on itself till it breaks off. Triangles may be made in the identical means as semicircles, however utilizing a big V-shaped device.


You can also make different-sized dots utilizing every of the U-shaped instruments. Maintain the device at 45 levels and stick it into the lino a bit means, then maintain the device regular whilst you rotate the block round it in a circle. The dots is not going to all the time be completely spherical, however with a bit follow you will get them fairly shut.

Linocut Carving Techniques


To make a star, carve inwards from the tip of every level of the star in direction of the centre utilizing the big V-shaped device. Maintain the device at a steep angle so the purpose goes down in direction of the centre of the star.

Textual content Copyright © 2023 Nick Morley
Pictures Copyright © 2023 Rita Platts
Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend printed by Skittledog (an imprint of Thames & Hudson Ltd.)

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