Throwback Thursday

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso

A bit of a different throwback Thursday this week, instead of a sketch of something that happened on this day, I'm going to use a traditional block printing technique of Linocut or Lino printing.

I've never done it before but I have had a fair few messages asking for the T-shirt designs to be made into prints. So after having a think about the way I design the art to go on the t-shirts lends itself to block printing, especially handmade block printing. 


Lino art is a variety of wood printing which uses linoleum and was invented in Britain in 1855. It's a great material, it's made from natural wood, it biodegradable and it lasts a long time if cared for. A design is drawn onto the block and then chiselled into the wood, the image carved is a negative, the uncarved parts to be printed and the cut parts to be blank.

Once the design has been carved then the block is inked with a roller or a brayer, then paper or parchment is placed on top and either by hand (using a barren or even a spoon!) or a roller the image is printed on the material.

It creates bold impressive images that stand out, advanced techniques add different colours to the print and Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse used the printing method.

It is a great activity and method of printing and is easy to have a go at any age.

So on to my very first go I revisited the Robocop design from the tee (available here) and sketched it onto the printing block.

robocop print

Happy with the image I then began carving using a cutter, I had different blades to achieve different depths and widths.

lino cut

Time to get messy! Preparing a tray with watercolour based ink I loaded the brayer and applied ink to the lino block.Using a Baren I began the printing process, it took a few goes before the ink transferred over the whole image. 

robocop lino

I was very pleased with the overall effect (especially for the first attempt!) and think some of the t-shirt designs will work very well with block printing and will give an alternative for those wishing to purchase some of the art in A5 and A4 sizes. I need to tidy up and get a lot more practice in and experiment with different materials, I believe a cotton rag parchment might make a good print.

I'll keep you posted and keep an eye out in the store, next week we finish off 21st-century gangster flicks fortnight with one more t-shirt and another giclee art print to make your wall happy.

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