Posts Tagged ‘lino printing’

Reduction Lino Printing

February 2, 2015

I have been teaching printmaking for the last five months now. Recently though we took a run at reduction printing. Reduction printing is a multicoloured print where all colours are made from the same plate. In our case I suggested white, the colour of the paper, and then two colours on that, giving the appearance of a three-colour print, kind of. So how does this work?

Basically, there are two steps. First you carve away, we worked in lino, everything you want to be white, or the first colour. The trick with reduction printing is that the second colour goes ON TOP of the first colour. That means that your second colour needs to be either opaque or darker than the first. I did a raven. Honestly, if I had known this was going to work so well I would have chosen a cooler image.

First colour

First colour

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Once you have a run of prints made, generally you will lose some of the original prints during the registration process, which we will cover later. I suggested to the students that we might get 50% total in the end. So if you want 10 good prints, then print 20 of your first colour.

The next bit is to carve away everything you want to keep from the first colour. Whatever is carved away here will not get inked and printed onto the previous prints. This whole process was mapped out prior to starting so once here there shouldn’t be too much mystery as to what is being carved away.

The hardest thing in this was figuring out how to do the registration. Registration is putting a print down on the newly cut plate so they line up perfectly. If your print is laid down on the plate even 1mm off it will show as the two images will be skewed from each other. This was the most stressful part of this. Although I am sure that the solution to this is on the internet, I really wanted to solve this problem myself (isn’t that half the fun?!?!?!). After a few ideas I came up with our eventual solution. Our lino plates are 6X8 and our paper is 8X10 to fit our 8X10 display frames. I took a piece of mat board, close to 8X10 and measured 1” from the top and 1” from one side. I laid the lino on those two lines and traced around the lino block. Then I cut away the mat board and the lino fit into the hole I cut. I then used double-sided tape and adhered the lino and the mat board to a larger mat board. The purpose of this is to stop any sliding while running it through the printing press (we use a hand cranked small press on a table top). It is important that the corner of the cut mat board and the lino are both 90 degrees and equal to each other. The other bits don’t matter for printing. Once these three parts are adhered to each other I could ink the plate and lay the paper down in that 90 degree corner and as long as the top of the paper stayed in line with the top of the mat board and the side of the paper lined with the mat board running down then when I do the second colour they should match up.

The corner of the lino plate and the corner of the mat board both need to line up and be 90 degrees

The corner of the lino plate and the corner of the mat board both need to line up and be 90 degrees

I used double-sided tape to adhere the lino and the black mat board to a larger white mat board.

I used double-sided tape to adhere the lino and the black mat board to a larger white mat board.

Once I had the second cutting of the lino done I did a print of it.

This is a print of the second cutting of the lino, of just what I wanted to print black only

This is a print of the second cutting of the lino, of just what I wanted to print black only

Then I was ready to print on the previously printed sheets.

I am ridiculously pleased that all the edges lined up perfectly.

I am ridiculously pleased that all the edges lined up perfectly.

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Sorry I don’t have any process photos to share. It was pretty hairy during the printing sessions and I honestly wasn’t sure any of this was going to work so I didn’t document the process at all.

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