Color gradient linocut print

Written by Regina D'Alfonso


Did you know that most people, when hearing the word linoprint still think of a messy black and white print that looks a little like an angry 10-year old made it?


a palette of different colors for linocut printing

Well, seeing that you are reading this article on the website of a linocut printing press manufacturer I am sure you are not most people. You know there is more to block - printing than black ink and a little messy is always okay.

One quick and easy way to add more character to a lino block-print is using a color gradient, either on the main block or as a background.


a couple of art prints from lino press on a rope

If you want to use it on your carved block, like I did on the print with the Lady cooling off in a glass of lemonade, all you need is a second color ink and a little more space to roll out the ink.


a hand holding a piece of paper with a linocut print of person in a drink


To choose a nicely matching color take a look at a color wheel or try to remember what you learned in school about primary colors (blue, yellow and magenta) and how they can be mixed to secondary colors (green, orange and violet) and so forth. When you roll out the inks next to each other you want the colors to blend into a third one, like in our first example where red and yellow blend together as orange. 


a hand holding a piece of lino printed paper with colorful text


For the option of using a gradient as a background you can use the same method on a new uncarved block and let it dry a little before you print your carved block in one solid color on top. 


a drawing on a board with linocut press


Alternatively you can use some extender of the same make as your ink instead of using a second color ink. As a result you will get your background color to fade into “nothingness”, for example to soften the edges of your background or to emphasize the top/bottom or left/right side of your main motif. 


a hand holding a piece of linocut printed art


And that’s it, really! It is so simple, that there is never really any excuse to not spice up a simple design with some color :o)


linocut press centering lines in action


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