Watercolor painting, acrylic painting, oil painting, drawing – these are the typical art forms that come to mind when one talks about art. Despite its rich and long-standing history, linoleum (lino in short) art is not the art form most turn to when seeking to try something new because it looks complex. It is, however, quite to opposite. Here at Art Pazionate, we aspire to bring you exciting new experiences and lino art is one of them!
So, what exactly is lino art? Lino art is simply carving your own printing plate from a linoleum block with various carving tools. The lino printing plate is then smothered with ink and impressed onto a piece of paper or fabric (think: carving the rubbers of a rubber stamp). The actual printing is sometimes done with a printing press, but, in present day, is mostly done by hand. Lino art is one of the simplest forms of art yet can also become extremely intricate and detailed if you want it to.
Dating back to the 1800s, linoleum was initially created as floor coverings to replace expensive wood and metal blocks because it is cheaper and less time consuming to manufacture. Soon, it entirely replaced wood and metal in the field of block carvings due to the nature of its material. Linoleum is softer, especially when heated, which allows artists ease of carving and more flexibility to create intricate pieces. Despite the ease of carving linoleum allows, it can sometimes lack the character a woodcut may deliver due to its grains and angularity. Pablo Picasso started using linoleum in the early 1900s, resulting in the spike in its popularity.
Now that we’re done with the ‘what’s, let’s move on to the ‘how’s.
Step 1: Look for a shape or pattern you would like to replicate and trace it out on a piece of tracing paper with a pencil. Do note that the design will be flipped upon printing so you should carve the design accordingly.
Step 2: Flip the tracing paper over and retrace the lines so the previously drawn lines will transfer onto your lino block. At this point, the shape should be a mirror image of what you wish to have.
Here’s where the fun starts.
Step 3: Whip out your tools and start carving! You should first carve the outline of your shape, then carve the surrounding material away. This will result in your desired shape being the only smooth surface left on the lino block. Patience is key!
Tip: never carve towards yourself for safety reasons and don’t use too much strength lest you carve a hole through the lino block.
Step 4: Now that you’re done carving, use an ink roller or simply smother some ink over the smooth surface of the lino block.
Step 5: PRINT. Look for a surface you wish to print the shape on, it can be a piece of cloth or a simple piece of paper, and stamp the lino block onto it.
Viola! There you have it, your own lino art.
With just these simple steps, novices and experts alike can enjoy the fun of lino art. If you are keen on being the next to experience the pleasures of lino art, join us at our 2 hour Lino Art Workshop and bring home a block that is uniquely yours!