Linocutting is Hard Work!

Creating a linocut can take a long time - particularly if it is a multi coloured linocut made up of different blocks.  In a year, I probably only create 2 - 3 complex linocuts in total, by the time I think of the idea, sketch it, plan out the different blocks, cut them and then print them up.  At the moment, I'm working on a parakeet linocut.  Over Christmas, we saw lots of them in London, and even though they are noisy and have an environmental impact, I still loved seeing them.  My plan is to do a linocut of 3 parakeets flying on a flower background - I have still to decide if the background will be chrysanthemums or cherry blossom.  I thought I would share where I have got to in this process.

Sketches of flying parakeets

As ever, it all starts with an idea, which I always get down in the form of a sketch - here are the 3 sketches of my flying parakeets.  I trace these and transfer them onto Japanese linoleum and go over the lines with a sharpie marker. I have cut one of the birds out now - 2 to go! You can see the draft print I have taken to check my cutting - I do this in a water based ink for ease.

Linocut of parakeet in draft form


In the film below, you can see me cutting out the shape of the bird - I later went back to add some more detail.  Cutting out the shape of this one bird below took 1 hour 26 minutes - condensed into 51 seconds for your viewing pleasure!  During the middle of the cutting process, you can see me re-sharpening one of my tools.  It is essential for safety, accuracy and speed that you keep your tools sharp - if you would like to find out more about how I do this, see my blog post on sharpening tools here.  



Once I have completed the parakeet and flower linocuts, I will do another blog post about them - my plan is to make them into fabric, a huge poster, and a pop up card! Linocuts may be hard work and take a long time to create, but you can apply the design you create in lots of different ways.

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