Linocut Carving Strategies for Inexperienced persons

Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend is a brand new ebook by Margate primarily based linocut artist and printmaker, Nick Morley. Revealed by Skittledog (an imprint of Thames & Hudson Ltd.) the ebook guides you thru the instruments and supplies you will want, and offers plenty of tasks to get you began. Under is a chapter from the ebook that outlines the varied linocut carving strategies you need to use to familiarise your self with linocutting earlier than you make a begin.


Linocut Carving Techniques

Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend is offered now at


Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend – Linocut Carving Strategies

Textual content by Nick Morley | Pictures by Rita Platts

Carving lino could be very stress-free; some folks discover it nearly addictive. Like every talent, it takes apply to construct up your confidence. Earlier than you deal with any of the tasks I recommend you carve a take a look at block to get used to the instruments, and check out all of the totally different strategies that comply with. The tasks every use a number of of those strategies. You possibly can refer again to this part at any time in the event you want a reminder.


What You Will Want

• Lino block

• Everlasting marker pen or acrylic paint

• Paper towel

• Slicing instruments

• Non-slip mat


Begin by making a take a look at block to experiment with carving a wide range of marks and to get a really feel for the totally different instruments. You should utilize the instance on web page 21 as a information however be at liberty to check out your individual concepts. Don’t fear about making your marks appear to be a coherent design, consider it extra like a sampler which you’ll refer again to. After getting completed carving your take a look at block, print it by following the directions within the Printing part.

Earlier than you begin, color within the floor of the block with the marker pen or brush some acrylic paint diluted with water onto the floor after which wipe it off with a paper towel. You need simply sufficient to stain the floor, with out leaving any bumps or ridges of paint. This stage is non-obligatory, however makes it simpler to see your carved marks. The elements of the lino you take away are going to be white, assuming you might be printing on white paper. Colouring the block helps your mind get used to this, because the elements you carve out will seem lighter than the uncut areas.


Linocut Carving Techniques


Linocut Carving Security

The instruments are sharp, so to keep away from reducing your self, all the time carve away out of your palms and away out of your physique. You have to to carry the lino along with your second hand, so ensure you are holding it to the facet or behind your reducing software. Place a non-slip mat below the block if you end up carving to cease it shifting round.


Holding the Instruments

Maintain the software so the deal with is within the centre of your palm. Your fingers ought to be pretty relaxed, along with your first finger pointing straight down the shaft. Be sure that the software is the correct method up, with the innovative pointing straight down.

The angle you maintain the software at will decide whether or not the reducing tip strikes ahead in a degree method as you push on the software, or strikes up or down. By elevating or decreasing your wrist you may management this. Increase your wrist barely to make a steeper angle and the software will go deeper into the lino. Decrease your wrist to make a shallower angle to convey the reducing tip again up in the direction of the floor. In between it’s best to discover the precise angle at which the software travels ahead in a steady line. This angle might range between instruments.


The precise angle it’s essential maintain the software will range barely relying on which software you might be utilizing.


Two widespread issues can occur right here. If the software goes too deep it could possibly begin to tear the lino, and even get caught fully. If this occurs, decrease your wrist barely to convey the reducing tip up. Alternatively, if the software retains skidding and you’re feeling that you simply’re not 
in management, convey your wrist up barely so the reducing 
tip goes down. These changes are delicate and take 
a bit time to grasp, nevertheless it’s higher to practise now 
so you may management your reducing while you do your 
first mission.

One can find that you need to push more durable with the bigger instruments, as you might be eradicating extra lino. Attempt to push the software along with your complete arm, utilizing your physique weight to generate the drive. If you use the smaller instruments or make shallower cuts, you want much less drive – a small motion of the wrist could also be sufficient. Your reducing approach will develop over time, however do attempt to preserve all the things relaxed as a lot as potential … and keep in mind to breathe!


Linocut Carving Techniques


Check Block Print Key

1. Assorted widths of line made by totally different instruments. Discover how the 2 ends of every line you carve are formed by the software. High to backside: 1 mm U, 3 mm U, 5 mm U, 1 mm V, giant V (shallow lower), giant V (deep lower).

2. Traces with a sq. finish. High to backside: 3 mm U, 5 mm U, giant V.

3. Curved strains. High to backside: 1 mm V, 1 mm U, 3 mm U.

4. Assorted width line made with giant V.

5. Circle made with 3 mm U.

6. Dots. High to backside: 1 mm U, 3 mm U, 5 mm U.

7. Semicircles made with 3 mm and 5 mm U. Triangles made with giant V.

8. Stars made with giant V.

9–10. Giant V.

11. Giant V carving with sideways and up-and-down movement.

12. Giant U semicircles.

13. 1 mm U wavy strains.

14. Giant V tapered strains.

15–17. 3 mm U.

18. 1 mm V.

19–21. 5 mm U.


Carving a straight line

Practise making straight, even strains of various lengths in your take a look at block with every of your instruments. An excellent width of line is greatest made with a U-shaped software, with the dimensions of software figuring out the width. Use the big V-shaped software to chop a wide range of widths of line, together with a really wonderful line.


Assorted width of line

By various the depth of the software you may make the road wider or narrower. That is particularly efficient with the V-shaped software. Increase and decrease your wrist as you carve. Strive a curved line by shifting your wrist backward and forward in addition to up and down.


Making a line with a sq. finish

As a substitute of decreasing your wrist on the finish of a line, cease the software the place you need the road to finish, leaving the lino shaving hooked up to the block. Carry the reducing tip straight again about 2–3mm. Carry the reducing tip to bend the lino shaving up and over till it breaks off.

Linocut Carving Techniques


Carving a circle

To make a circle or a pronounced curve, rotate the block as you carve. This system is simpler with a U-shaped software and with out the non-slip mat. Lean into the software and push the block towards it along with your different hand, being cautious to not lower in the direction of your fingers. Rotate the block as you narrow, maintaining your reducing hand regular.


Curved strains

Mild curves could be made by shifting your wrist or arm left and proper as you narrow forwards. Extra pronounced curves might require you to maneuver your complete physique. Attempt to preserve your hand degree as you progress, so the reducing tip of the software stays upright.

Linocut Carving Techniques


Little semicircles and triangles

To make a semicircle, maintain the U-shaped software at 45 levels and stick it into the lino, then pull it again out midway. Carry the software to bend the piece of lino again on itself till it breaks off. Triangles could be made in the identical method as semicircles, however utilizing a big V-shaped software.



You can also make different-sized dots utilizing every of the U-shaped instruments. Maintain the software at 45 levels and stick it into the lino a bit method, then maintain the software regular when you rotate the block round it in a circle. The dots is not going to all the time be completely spherical, however with a bit apply you will get them fairly shut.

Linocut Carving Techniques



To make a star, carve inwards from the tip of every level of the star in the direction of the centre utilizing the big V-shaped software. Maintain the software at a steep angle so the purpose goes down in the direction of the centre of the star.



Textual content Copyright © 2023 Nick Morley
Pictures Copyright © 2023 Rita Platts
Linocut: Be taught in a Weekend printed by Skittledog (an imprint of Thames & Hudson Ltd.)



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