Single Colour Linocut, Tree Fern – Project 6

I started this linocut inspired by some of the marks that I had made in the previous exercise. I particularly liked the more experimental and unpredictable marks made by rocking the curved blade, which to me looked like fern leaves. In my sketchbook I had made some sketches of palm trees and architecture in the Algarve, and we have a large tree fern in our garden as inspiration.

I initially worked directly from the sketches to make some markmaking studies in backdrawn monoprint, and a small test linocut.

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From here I made a composition sketch in pencil and played with the idea of incorporating patterns from the architecture as a border. In chalk and using A5 format, I felt that the composition was too crowded and didn’t really work. The chalk lines were too broad, and for that reason I switched to Neocolor II watersoluble crayon in white on black paper for further sketches. I explored using contrasting leaf textures and getting the balance right. I found these sketches too busy, and instead I included a smaller fern with a less fussy unfurling leaf design. I filled lost areas with overlapping rocking lines and hoped that the similarity of the two tree trunks held the composition together.

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I am not sure how happy I am with the final print, although I am getting better at getting a clean print. I find I struggle with larger uncut areas being sparsely inked no matter how many times I rub firmly over the reverse using a large wooden spool similar to a wooden spoon in weight and size.

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2 comments on “Single Colour Linocut, Tree Fern – Project 6

  1. Jennifer says:

    For hand-printing from a linocut, try using your largest roller, with all your weight behind it, instead of a spoon, and you should get more even pick-up of ink. But it does also challenge your inking skills! I did Printmaking 1, doing everything by hand, and recently used a press for linocut printing, and what a difference! But I’m glad I learnt first from the struggles with doing things by hand – you learn more, but the hard way, I think.

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