Lino printing is something I have done before but not much of. I’ve never done it with type before so I had to really keep in mind that my lino plate had to be a reverse of the type I was drawing.
At first, I did some prints the conventional way, using the rolling press. After printing the first one, I showed it to Mike, the technician and asked him why it had bled and blurred so much around the edges. He told me I had probably put too much ink on my plate and that could cause some movement or bleeding while printing.
The next print I did, I put less ink on the plate when I printed and got this grainy effect on the print from not using enough ink.
The third print I did, I decided to try rolling two colours onto my plate. The turquoise I had to roll a lot so that I could match the line of the red so there was some bleeding and spreading of the ink again. I asked Mike why the red half looked so watery and he said it was probably because there was still water or oil on my plate so the ink didn’t take to it as well. In future, I will have to dry and clean my plates better before re-printing.
Earlier in the workshop, Mike had mentioned that you can use the nipping press to lino print if you want but it isn’t as reliable a method of printing because lino relies so much on high pressure. I decided to try printing with it to see what it would look like.
The first print I did, I had the same problem as before with not properly drying my plate so the colour came out quite faded. As well as this, the plate hadn’t printed the top of my design very well. I asked Mike what had caused it and he didn’t know because using the nipping press for lino is quite unconventional.
While I like this ghosting effect at the top of the letter, I didn’t know how to replicate it in a controlled way so I kept working with the press. I thought that if I could work out how to eliminate it, I could later work out how to replicate it so I began with that.
The next print I did, I went back to the split colour because I quite like the aesthetic of it. However I found black and red to be a hard combination to perfect because the slightest bit of black on red changes the colour quite significantly and you get cross colour contamination. For this print, I pulled the press shut tighter and held it there for longer to se if that would change things but I had the same ghosting effect on this one as my first print.
For a while I was stuck on how to fix this ghosting effect but I took a close look at the press and discovered that the pressure was not evenly distributed across the entire press. Towards the middle, the pressure is quite low, which cause the ghosting effect, and around the edge, the pressure is quite high, which creates a more solid print.
After working with the nipping press, I decided to try another way of printing to see what it would look like. For this print, I used a bone folder to hand burnish the print. This gave me a very grainy print which I really like. Because of the low pressure of hand burnishing a print, it doesn’t fully print but you can focus the areas you want to print better than others.
This was a really exciting revelation to me but due to time constraints, I couldn’t explore it further in this workshop. In future, when I have a good amount of time to devote to experimentation and skill improvement, I would like to really play with the effect I can create from hand burnishing and see if I can get noticeable differences in tone across the print from the amount of pressure I apply by hand.
Something I thought had a lot of potential was these pieces. When you roll on your first layer of ink onto your plate, if you want to roll on another layer without getting a ghosting effect on your plate, you have to roll off the design onto some newsprint. I really like how the ink that has been take off by the plate leaves an obvious copy on the paper. It’s much more visible with the turquoise than the red so I think that the effect could be very colour dependent. This technique has huge potential in terms of single tone imagery so I’d quite like to experiment with it and see what I could do with it.
I do like lino printing and there is a lot I would like to experiment with but print isn’t my primary focus for this section of the project so I think my time would be better devoted to working on typography and bookbinding as those are the skills I am most focused on improving.
I think I am most likely to access this resource on a project by project basis or for independent study. I can’t see it playing a huge part in this project but it isn’t something I just want to leave forever so I will come back to it.