Creating Texture in Linocuts

Today is a blog post for fellow printmakers! It is about the importance of making use of texture in linocuts, especially if it is a one colour linocut.  Texture adds interest and realism.  You can create texture by using different sized tools. Here are some of my tools here. You can see they have different size cutting grooves. Using a variety of tools and cutting styles brings your linocuts to life.

Linocutting Tools

Have a look at the bat linocut print below for example, which I created for my bat and insect fabric. You can see I’ve used a small tool to create the fur.  This contrasts with the solid black of the wings. I used my smallest tool and short, sharp gouges to flick out small pieces of lino. I make sure the gouges are not too uniform so it realistically reflects fur by angling my hand in different directions. 

Bat Linocut Print

The amount of texture you add can lead to a variation of shades of colour, and this can help to differentiate between areas. Look at the ‘Sleeping Rabbits’ part of my Rabbits in Burrow print below.  It incorporates three different shaded areas:

1.The light hay, where only the thinnest lines have been left behind.

2.  The mid tone rabbits where a thin tool has been used to create lots of short lines to give the impression of fur.

3.  Finally, there is the almost solid, very dark earth, where the only texture is the occasional stone.

Sleeping Rabbits Linocut

 In creating texture, it is important not to over-cut, and clear out too much.  In my Christmas Bears card below, for example, I was over zealous in creating the lines for the fur of Mummy Bear and looks a bit bald!

Mummy Bear

In creating a colour linocut, it is also important to add texture.  It can make a single area of colour lighter or darker, which helps to describe the surface area and solidity of the subject.  Look at the grey section of my Gannets print below.  The solid grey in the beaks shows how strong they are.  The textured grey highlights their feather and changes into a solid grey, to show the shaded area.

Gannet Linocut Print

Enjoy using your tools to create different textured effects in your linocuts!


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