Wednesday, April 18, 2012

White or Black Lines?

The creation of lines is very important, and you need to give some thought to this prior to hacking gaily into your lino!  First of all, there is the basic decision of whether you want to use your lino tool simply to create a white line on coloured background - see the example below by one of my workshop participants.
Fantastic linocut of a cone created by a
workshop participant at the Birnam Institute.
The alternative is to use your linocutting tool to create a black line by clearing the lino out from either side of the line and leaving the lino raised, which means it will take on the ink.  On the whole, this is the approach I favour.   

The linocut and the print below demonstrates both techniques.  The lettering is created by using the tool to 'write' the letters directly - so it turns out as a white line on a dark background.  The mice have been created by using the tool to scoop out the internal part of each mouse and the area around each mouse - but leaving the outlines intact.

The original linocut showing the techniques for creating both black and white lines ...

...and the print of the linocut.  Clear white lettering and bold black outlines for the mice.

In creating an outline, you must be careful not to over cut and make your line too thin as this leads to a weak, uninteresting print.  In the example of the Daddy Bear designs below, you can see that the second version is much stronger as the external lines of Daddy Bear are much thicker.  He has a much more defined shape, particularly in comparison to the first print.

Unclear linocut design, where the outlines are too thin and ill-defined

Successful linocut design, with thicker lines creating better definition of the subject

Like these prints?  Have a look at: