Saturday, April 28, 2012

Linoleum Reduction Print Lesson

They're finished! Watching these reduction prints develop has been fascinating. This is a project that just doesn't seem to "look right" for most of the process; but then, the last layer of ink is applied, and all of a sudden, the image comes together.

For those who may be unfamiliar with a reduction print, here is an outline of the process we used in this lesson.

Preparatory work:
1. Students chose an image using photographic resources. They were encouraged to seek high-contrast images with interesting textures, simple backgrounds, and unique compositions.
2. After creating a sketch in the exact scale of their final print, the drawing was flipped upside down and transferred to Easy-Cut linoleum (if you scribble on the back of the sketch, the graphite transfers easily to the block's surface). We re-traced the image in permanent marker.
3. Students chose 4-5 colors and colored in their original sketch on paper to map out their layers.

Reduction printing:
1. Ink the uncarved block with your lightest color. Pull five identical prints (actually... it is a very good idea to pull extra prints in case one of them doesn't turn out in a later step).
2. Wash your block. Referring to your sketch, use a gouge tool to carve away any area you wish to remain the original color that you printed.
3. Print your second color, making sure that you register (align) the block perfectly to your original print.
4. Repeat, carving away the areas that will remain as color #2 (and so on with each layer).
5. Your last color is (usually) your darkest color of ink. By this time, you will have carved most of the linoleum away. Anything that is left will be printed in this final color. The final step is important in adding clarity to the contour of your forms.

Students completed an edition of five prints each. Each person matted their most successful print of the edition... here are a few examples of the awesome prints from 1st hour!






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