I had such good intentions to post more this holiday… ah well. I was busy making more art!
Last year I made everyone’s Christmas cards by hand and decided to do the same this year. While I chose to do them in water colors last year, which was a blast, this year I wanted to use some skills that I’d learned at NSCAD. When we did our linocut prints in printmaking a few months ago, I knew immediately that that was how I wanted to do Christmas cards this year.
I bought some 4″ x 5″ linoblocks (linoleum with wood-backing to make them easier to carve), two large sheets of Stonehenge paper, a couple tubes of water-soluable print-making ink and was on my way!
I think they turned out decently, though I’m still not sold on the owl. I wanted to keep the designs minimal so I wouldn’t break my back on them. Carving is hard work, and even these had my elbows and back aching the next day… but enough whining! These were fun to do and not that difficult, either! If you want to do your own linocut cards there are plenty of great resources to help you online, like this Instructables tutorial.
They suggest printing on papers that have patterns on them which can yield some interesting results. Overall, I found print-making at school to be a very finicky business. If you don’t ink the plates enough, or don’t put enough pressure down, you won’t get a clear image for a result. This can be desirable at times, however. It can be very unpredictable which some people like in art. I tend to like things to be a bit more controlled, but it was interesting to push my boundaries in print-making class. Linocut prints and dry point printing were my favorite techniques by far, but dry point isn’t really possible unless you have a proper printing press to get the right amount of pressure down.
If you don’t feel like making your own linocut prints, but would still love to have one or gift them, Etsy carries a ton of beautiful linocut prints from hundreds of different artists.
Finally, though technically these next prints are wood cuts and not linocuts (the technique used to make them is identical as far as I know), they’re absolutely stunning. I was introduced to Tugboat Printshop through BOOOOOOOM’s website. A two-person operation, they do large-scale woodblock prints.
The amount of tiny detail in these equates to hours upon hours of careful carving, but even if you ignore that, observe the multiple colors. In order to do multiple colors in a linocut or woodblock print, you need to have different blocks for each color. You basically need to carve the same thing for as many colors as you wish to include in your final print. There is so much room for margin of error in these kinds of works. I can’t imagine how long it would take to go from start to finish. Paul and Valerie talk about their process a bit here.
People wonder why prints like these are so expensive; beyond the insane amount of work that goes into them, there are a limited amount of prints that can be done before the wood wears down and becomes unusable. These beautiful prints are worth every penny in my books!
This may be my last post before going back to school, so everyone: have a great holiday and a happy new year! I have so many things to look forward to in the new year and I’m totally ready to get started! Let’s go, 2013!