How I started Lino Cutting — Lessons and Tips!
I’d always been fascinated with printmaking. When I saw the brilliant art that Samidha Gunjal (@gdhamisa) had been making, I couldn’t help but pick a set up for myself and get to work!
I will not bother you with boring details of what Lino Cutting is and what not. I’m sure you are reading this because you know of it and want to try it out! If not, EmptyEasel has this very helpful article for you.
So, lino cutting in India. Unfortunately had to pay Bezos for this. Couldn’t find all linocut materials here in Mysore, Karnataka. You should be able to if you’re in a metro, if not, get separate pieces and put them together. Here’s what you need:
Block Printing Ink
Paper to print on
Weight/Press (not very necessary, you could always spoon *wink wink*)
If you want to get the whole set like I did, here’s the Amazon India link to the product. The kit comes with 4 linoleum sheets, one barren and 6 carving blades, water based black printing ink, a paint roller and a tray. It seems to be out of stock on Amazon right now, but you should be able to access it in a while. It is priced at INR 2790.
Once you’ve gotten the materials, or when you are waiting for it to be delivered, you need to get into the basics of linocutting and what to do once you actually have the materials. I found a lot of helpful resources on youtube to guide me through it. This one in particular was very informative: Introduction to Linocut Printing for Beginners. So I basically just saw this one video and got down to business but you can choose to look at the videos their channel has to offer.
Tips for Beginners
- Start Small — Pick an easy design and try to carve it out, you can always graduate to complex pieces but you need to master control over the carving knives first.
- Be Mindful of Mirroring — Remember that the image transfer happens as a mirror image, so if you carve something, let’s say a tea cup with it’s handle on the right, it will print to the left.
- Blank Spaces — Initially it can be a bit difficult to differentiate what you want carved out vs what design you want to be printed. Make sure you shade the spaces you want to carve out or have a copy of the design open on your phone as you carve!
- Extras — Sometimes the ridges on the lino catch ink and transfer onto paper — this is not a problem, you just need to carve them out for a cleaner print the next time.
- Don’t carve too deep — Carving too deep will cut the lino and you will lose your design.
- Watch out for sharp edges — Be super careful when you start, the knives are pretty sharp, you run the risk of cutting yourself.
- Record the process! — Trust me, record your first linocut, it’ll be fun to look back at.
Enjoy the process! Hit me up with any questions you might have!