Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shapedchisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.
Since the material being carved has no directional grain and does not tend to split, it is easier to obtain certain artistic effects with lino than with most woods, although the resultant prints lack the often angular grainy character of woodcuts and engravings. Lino is generally much easier to cut than wood, especially when heated, but the pressure of the printing process degrades the plate faster and it is difficult to create larger works due to the material's fragility.
Linocuts can also be achieved by the careful application of sodium hydroxide in a paste to parts of the surface of the lino. This creates a surface similar to a soft ground etching and these caustic-lino plates can be printed in either a relief, intaglio or a viscosity printing manner.
Colour linocuts can be made by using a different block for each colour as in a woodcut, but, as Pablo Picasso (Spanish artist) demonstrated quite effectively, such prints can also be achieved using a single piece of linoleum in what is called the 'reductive' print method. Essentially, after each successive colour is imprinted onto the paper, the artist then cleans the lino plate and cuts away what will not be imprinted for the subsequently applied colour.
Lino cutting Artist - Nick Morley
Nick Morley is an artist and illustrator based in Margate. He
makes prints and drawings in his studio at the Pie Factory
A particular passion is linocuts, which Nick promotes through
his Linocutboy blog, exhibitions, writings and workshops.
Illustration commissions include book covers for Penguin,
Faber & Faber and The Folio Society, thirteen drawings
for Frankie Boyle's book Work, Consume, Die and a front
cover for Icon magazine
The major themes running through Nick’s personal work
are masculinity, heroism, human achievement and man’s
efforts to leave his mark on the world.
Nick has exhibited widely across the UK and abroad. His
work has been featured in Telegraph magazine and a BBC2
documentary about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
in which it was picked out as a favourite by Vic Reeves.
Stockists of Nick's work include Material in Ludlow, Frank
in Whitstable and For Arts Sake in London. A selection of
prints is also available online through Etsy