View Full Version : Types of ink

08-07-2015, 11:38 AM

About a month ago I thought I would have a dabble with lino printing. I haven't done it at all since school over two decades ago, and then it was only a brief introduction.

My intention was to have a play with some relatively cheap materials just for my own entertainment. However after only buying one piece of lino I have been too worried to use it!

Enter a recently discovered art subscription box that happened to arrive yesterday with two little pieces of lino like material and a stamp pad to use it with.

If anyone is still reading my questions are :what is the difference between using printing ink/roller etc and just using a stamp pad?

Do stamp pads not work at all with proper lino? The surface feels very different and it feels like the stamp pad ink wouldn't cover the surface as well.

As it happens I bought some basic printing ink on my earlier spending spree but I just wondered.

Thank you

Moqui Steps
08-07-2015, 11:50 PM
You can use pretty much anything on on a relief print. You just need to vary the amount of pressure you use to transfer the ink and pull your print before the ink dries.

Stiff etching inks may require more pressure than say block printing inks, but I have had success with both. The type of paper also can impact the process. Try testing your inks on those sample pieces without anything carved into them, just do some monotypes and see what you come up with.

I have used regular acrylic paints with retarder in them, regular oil paints, etching inks, block printing inks and alkyds all with good results. Try various papers also to see what happens. Once you get a result you like, the go for some finished pieces.

08-08-2015, 12:23 PM
I would see if any local art stores to you have some cheap lino or alternative and play around for a little bit and not to be too afraid to use what you get.

I started out playing around with a cheap soft-cut pad and two Speedball water based tubes of ink. The results aren't what I would call fantastic, but it was an easy introduction and I wasn't worried about having spent too much money if it didn't work out. I've attached a product similar to what I started with...even my wife works with something similar and she's a starter as well.


It's very soft and really simple to cut (cuts like butter). It won't last probably as long as lino or other harder materials, but for starting out it wouldn't be so bad. I would also just consider some water-based inks until you get an idea as to how much you like or dislike the process. They are super easy to clean up and pretty cheap...downside...they dry out real fast (especially if it's hot outside). Great for just playing around though.

I've never used a stamp pad so I can't speak to that. You can probably get a cheap brayer (roller) either online or perhaps at a local art store. I watched a couple different videos on youtube to help get me acquainted to how to roll out the ink.

I started with just regular paper, moved up to cardstock (all while just playing around) and tried very expensive papers to lightweight Japanese papers. Cardstock is decent for handprinting and almost all Japanese papers are amazing for handprinting. I found that I really struggled with the heavy weight papers when handprinting.

Just my two cents though.... Here's a pic of my very first first print done on that pink speedball easy-cut stuff and orange and teal water-based speedball ink. (This was literally my first....never had relief printing of any kind in high school or college)


08-08-2015, 12:58 PM
I've used a stamp pad on tiny linocuts before. You just have to really coat the surface and then apply a lot of pressure (you can use a wooden spoon to rub the back of the paper).

I agree that Speedball water soluble inks are the best for beginners (and you can wash everything in the sink afterwards!). If you do get the ink, you'll want to get a brayer (they're fairly inexpensive at art supply stores and online) to transfer the ink evenly onto the lino.

08-08-2015, 02:01 PM
Thank you Donald, Douglas and explodingarrow,

I had a go with the lino like material that was in the box (mastercut). Much softer than the piece of lino I have. I didn't try anything too complicated and I don't know if I did the right sort of thing with it but it was fun. I will definitely look into it more.

I already had a brayer that my MiL gave me many years ago from when she was into rubber stamping so I have put that with the other supplies I have.

I used the provided stamp pad for this little print as I thought it would be tidier and easier considering it wasn't going to be a great work of art. I printed it in my sketchbook, which in hindsight wasn't the best idea as I couldn't turn it over to apply pressure.

Anyway, seeing as you were good enough to give me advice I thought I would show my first attempt. It is 10x10cm- my dog, who is my usual subject.


08-08-2015, 03:59 PM
Awesome! When I made my first I also found it really fun and then decided I wanted to take a course at my local art center. We did multi-color reduction prints which I wasn't really interested in (you carve away one area, print a color, carve away all areas of that color, print....rinse and repeat) and fell in love with the whole process.

Loved it so much that I invested in a small etching press from Dick Blick. =)

08-11-2015, 06:16 PM
That looks amazing!!!

08-12-2015, 03:25 AM
Thank you, that's very kind of both of you.

Only one of the 6 blades I have had any sort of impact on my piece of lino, so I picked up another piece of easy cut type. This one is horrible. I really dislike how it feels and how it cuts. I was also a bit ambitious with my design. I have discovered that straight lines aren't easy! I will still finish it and see what it looks like as a print as there may be things to learn from it. I will either have to see if it is possible to sharpen the blades I have or buy something better. Not going to happen at the moment though.