View Full Version : First block print

07-21-2002, 11:02 PM
Hi everyone!

I'm tremendously interested in getting involved in doing relief prints. I've been doing alot of reading, looking through the old posts, and checking out all the great lessons here!

I thought I had learned enough to take the first steps in trying my hand at my first print. Sadly, I don't think it turned out too good.

I carved a linoleum block with a simple design using just a basic Cutter Set from Speedball. I'm not that unhappy with the block...however, there is so much more to learn and eventually I would love to be able to use wood and do multiple color blocks.

Here is the block that I carved:


The prints however, didn't turn out too well. I just used what I had available in my studio. 140lb. hot press watercolor paper and acrylic paint mixed with retarder. I used a wooden spoon to transfer the print to the paper. I didn't moisten the paper at all, just used it as is after I had rolled the paint onto the block.

Here are the two prints:


If any of you would be willing to give some advice to a novice...I would greatly appreciate it!! :D

07-22-2002, 01:09 AM
Hi Karen,
Welcome to printmaking!! :D

I think your first prints are just fine. :) I like the image very much.

If you're not happy with your results, if maybe try using some good quality relief printing ink. I've never tried acrylic paints with lino, but I imagine there's not too much 'open' time.
I used Speedball inks when I first started, but I wouldn't recommend it, even to a printmaking newcomer. Try getting a professional brand, like Rembrandt, Graphic Chemical, or Daniel Smith. There's a world of difference in the ink!

Sassy mentioned that she's been using intaglio inks and getting some really good results. Maybe she'll post more about that....

Great job on your first print! (much better than my first one!)


07-22-2002, 10:40 AM
Gisela...thanks so much for your kind words and your advice!

Yes, I agree that I need to try ink formulated specifically for printing. I was anxious to give my handiwork a try :D Is there a good source online for the inks you recommended? I believe all the local art stores in my area only carry the Speedball inks, as I recall.

Also, can you tell me, in regards to cutting the block......one of the things I struggled with was getting a good clean edge both on the outside of my design, and in the interior cuts....any advice on that?

Thanks so much for your help!

07-22-2002, 12:43 PM
Karen, I like you image also. Remember the more you work in this medium the more you will learn. Books are fine, but actually doing the work is where you learn.

I am going to be doing an article on linoleum relief printing very soon. I enjoy working with linoleum even though my first love is intaglio. Keep working with it. I think you have a great start at trying a new medium.

P.S. I have an expensive set of linoleum cutters, but I find myself using my speedball set more due to the variety of blades.

07-22-2002, 07:29 PM
Here you go Karen:





07-22-2002, 07:59 PM
I know absolutely nothing about printmaking, have seen very few that appealed to me... but I do like this one Karen. I like the simplicity of your design and the one color background and one color print .... Between Gisela and Sassy, you'll have some great critiquers as you learn your new craft... Well done!

07-22-2002, 09:17 PM
Sassybird...thanks so much for your comments! I'll look forward to your linoleum relief printing article.

Gisela...thanks for the links....I've already put in my catalog requests! :D By the way....I grew up just outside Toledo Ohio.

JustjoGA....thank you for the compliment on my image!

07-24-2002, 06:27 PM
Gisela...against your better advice, I did go out and buy a small tube of Speedball ink (it was the only thing I could find locally :(). In any event....geez....what a difference a little ink makes! :D I'm much happier with this print. Plus, I now know what you mean about 'open' time. In the first print I did with the black acrylic paint, the paper just seemed to stick to the block and it was hard getting it apart. When I used the speedball ink, after checking the print, it just pulled easily away. How marvelous!

I bought myself another linoleum block and am in the process of planning out my next design! This is quite fun!

Thanks so much to everyone for your help and encouragement!


07-24-2002, 08:40 PM
I gripe about it, but still use it in a pinch sometimes... :)
That's the only thing sold locally here too. Wait till you try the really goo stuff! LOL!

I'm so glad that you're enjoying yourself -- I just discovered printmaking about 1 1/2 years ago and I love it! The possibilities are just endless.... :D


Little Old Lady
07-24-2002, 08:51 PM
This is a very interesting thread. I just started recently and didn't realize that there was so much difference in ink. Have to look into it. We used the the soft blocks from Dick Blick. What is the difference them and the real lino blocks.

07-24-2002, 08:57 PM
JoAnn....oh yes....the ink does make a world of difference. I can't wait to get my catalogs and order some of the "good stuff" that Gisela has been talking about!

Please tell me about the soft blocks you mentioned. When I was in my local art store I saw these and wondered about them. It said on the package they cut like butter. Well that seems nice for the wrist, hand and arm, however, when you do your print, due to the softness of the material, do you get any defects? I would think that one would need to be careful with the transfer pressure as it seemed that these soft blocks were very squishy (for lack of a better word :D)