August 30, 2019

The art of linocut - and how to make a leopard print version

Linocut of a leopard print made by Karlijn Kuin

Recently Karlijn Kuin passed by the LPRD headquarters and surprised us with a beautiful gift. We already knew she was a talented artist, but the colourful linocut she has made for us was absolutely stunning. Looking at this artwork made us want to know more about lino-work and the process behind it. 
Eveline explained the process briefly and told us that for making a linocut
there is no room for error, once you’ve cut off a piece you can't put it back, and once you’ve produced a small series you can never make the exact same image. 
Limited edition art, we’re intrigued. So we've decided to dive deeper into the making process of a linocut.

Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for a relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, with the raised or uncarved areas representing a mirrored image of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller, and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a printing press. 

Although linoleum is a floor covering that dates to the 1860s, the linocut printing technique was used first by the artists of Die Brücke in Germany between 1905 and 1913, where it had been similarly used for wallpaper printing.

Colour linocuts can be made by using a different block for each colour as in a woodcut, but, as artists like Pablo Picasso and Matisse demonstrated, such prints can also be achieved using a single piece of linoleum in what is called the 'reductive' print method. Essentially, after each successive colour is imprinted onto the paper, the artist then cleans the lino plate and cuts away what will not be imprinted for the subsequently applied colour.

The 'reductive' print method is the technique that Karlijn Kuin used for our linocut. She’s created this image in a limited edition series of three, and we feel very lucky to have one of these prints in our studio! 

Linocut print of a leopard made by Karlijn Kuin

Want to see more of Karlijn’s work, check out her instagram.

Curious to see this print in real life? Feel free to pass by our Amsterdam-based studio.


Source for lino techniques: Wikipedia