In the print studio … first proofs – averting problems with stray lino chips

Today I made it to the print studio to do some proof printing of my new design – ‘Postcards’ series – Sturt Desert Pea.

Here is the final carved lino block.

One of the curses of printmakers is dirt and lino chip particles that get mixed with the ink and end up on the block creating horrid little circles of missed ink in the final print. I have discussed it here.

After you have finished carving a linoblock you usually have small chips of lino still within the carved sections. These small chips are the ones that can cause the problem. So how to avoid it?

You can start by using a soft brush and gently brushing the chips out.

Then I lightly drop the block onto a clean table allowing the chips to fall out.

So you can see on my dark printing table the fine chips (and some larger ones) that potentially could ruin a print for you – costing you money because as you know the acid free rag paper is not cheap! There is nothing more frustrating than lifting the print back off the linobock to find one of those white rings indicating a lino chip or piece of dirt!

So after I have dealt with making the linoblock as clean of lino chips as possible I will set out the ink to begin printing.

With this cooler weather the ink often becomes quite cold and thick. So I will generally put the tube of ink onto a metal surface in the sun to let it warn whilst I set up for printing. Sometimes when there is no sun I will lightly put it near a heater – but not too long as it will then be too thin. It is an oil based ink.

There is something quite exciting about inking the block for the first time and seeing the design come to life.

And of course the first print off the block – exciting but also a bit nerve wracking hoping the image you designed and carved translates to what you wanted in the final print.

Print is now drying – hopefully will get to handcolour the first proofs tomorrow.

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