Guidance to Linocuts

"Every act of creation is first an act of destruction," said Pablo Picasso.

Creating a linocut is a fun and simple process. Furthermore, very few tools are required in order to create a great looking linocut. By following the following steps, you too can linocut like a pro!

Step One: To start off, all tools needed for linocutting should be gathered. This includes a pencil, sketching paper, graphite paper, scissors, tape, carving tools, ink, ink tray, ink roller, and, of course, a sheet of linoleum.

Collect All Materials

Step Two: Trace the edges of the linoleum sheet along the sketching paper. This will create a border, or box, in which to draw your image.

Step Three: Sketch your main image inside the borders. Don't be nervous, however, about expanding some of your image past the box. Creating images that go off the page often improve the aesthetics of the final product.

Sketch Your Image

Step Four: Use scissors to cut along the borders you traced in Step Two. This will result in your image matching the size of your linoleum sheet.

Step Five: Sandwich a sheet of graphite paper between your trimmed image and linoleum sheet. All materials should face upwards with the sketch on the top and linocut on the bottom. Secure these materials together with tape.

Place Your Graphite Paper

Step Six: Retrace the lines you drew in Step Three. The pressure created by your pencil upon the graphite paper beneath it should leave a noticeable outline on your linoleum sheet.

Step Seven: Remove your sketch and graphite paper from your linoleum sheet. If you failed to produce an outline, repeat Step Five and Step Six.

Step Eight: Using your carving tool, slowly trace along the outline upon your linoleum sheet. Keep in mind that what you carve out of the linoleum will represent empty spaces on your linocut. And remember, never carve towards yourself. A slow and steady hand is always necessary to produce a great linocut.

Carve an Outline

Step Nine: Now that you have succeeded in creating an outline, begin to carve into the linoleum and dig out areas to produce the shapes you desire. Always try to keep an image of what you are trying to accomplish in your mind's eye.

Step Ten: With carving out of the way, lay a good amount of ink upon your ink tray. Use the ink roller to spread and pick up the ink. Once the roller is adequately inked, roll that ink along your newly carved linoleum sheet.

Lay Out Your Ink

Step Eleven: Pick up your linoleum sheet, now covered generously with ink, and press it down upon the surface of your choosing. Pressing evenly and firmly upon the back of your linoleum sheet, be sure to wait a moment before releasing pressure.

Step Twelve: Slowly and carefully lift the linoleum sheet off the surface.

Slowly Lift Your Linoleum Sheet

Congratulations on your first linocut! Just remember: practice makes perfect!