Three color Lino-Cut Print

Every year I try to do a lino-cut Christmas card and every year because of the process I’m late by several weeks in sending them out. This is the first year I decided to do a multi colored print. In the past I’ve printed in black (oil based ink) and then added color with water color paint. To speed up the process and to achieve the texture only a print can achieve I carved three plates, used a crude system for registration the colors and printed using water based inks.

Below: I used the corner of a card board box as a crude way to register my prints. I first carved the black plate. I then printed the black ink to a sheet of semi-glossy cardboard and immediately put a blank lino-block in the same corner and pressed the wet cardboard print onto the block (or plate). I let it dry and then carved out the block depending on which color it would be. The colored card to the left is a test piece using markers to determine where the color should go and “what not to carve out.”


A close up of the print used to transfer the black plate to the new color block to be carved.


Before I printed my cards the card stock (100ib cover) needed to be scored so it will fold correctly. I do this by using a straight edge and the back of an exacto knife.



I first laid down the blue color:


After the blue dries I then lay down the red:


You guessed it the black or key color is the last to be put down. Notice that even though there is black on the body of the reindeer l left the full body of the deer red and “overprinted” the black onto the red. In printing terms when you print a black on top of another color or colors you get what printers call a “rich black” a rich black is just that—a richer looking black than if you printed black on white.


Below: The process (red or blue can be laid down first or second as long as black is done last). It is also important to make sure your colors bleed into the black to prevent white lines if you are off a tad on your registration. This is called trapping.


Once your cards are printed let them dry a day or two so they don’t ghost or off print onto the the card above them if you decide to stack them together for storage.



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