Reduction linocut

Having done a drawing I was reasonably pleased with, I’m in the process of developing it into a linocut, which is tricky as it’s my first attempt to represent trees in this way, i.e. not winter skeletons, but full-blown leafy summer trees with their puzzling patterns of light and shade.

Devon fields

I’ve scanned it, reversed it, printed it out and copied it on to a piece of lino – actually not lino, but vinyl flooring which I prefer. I’ve just traced the outlines on to the plate at this stage, as I only need to know where the edges of things are and the drawing will probably rub off in the printing process.


Now I have to work out how many colours I can use and what they’re going to be, or, rather, what I’m hoping they’ll be, as there’s only so far you can control them in this method.

I printed a warm light grey as the first colour (it’s actually lighter than in the pic), then cut away the sky. Next I printed a blonde brown cornfield-like colour on top and cut away some of the fields. Then I printed a light green, leaving me at the stage shown in the pic below.


Next I cut away the remaining field shapes and the lightest tones in the trees and hedges, giving me roughly…….



And then I cut away the next lightest tones in the trees and hedges, a bit randomly, then I mixed a bluey-purple colour with lots of extender, so very light, to give a darker green layer. That ended up like this…


Then I cut away again and inked the plate with a cold blue, and thought I was finished, but decided the final shadows weren’t dark enough, so cut away almost everything, leaving just little shapes in the parts where deepest shade should be, I hoped, and inked again with a cold blue and got:


I wished I’d left the final shapes slightly larger, as I thought these last spots of dark green were good and in retrospect I would have liked more of them in the foreground, but it was too late. That’s the thing about reduction ….. you can’t go back. Next time I’d have more contrast in the trees and maybe some detail in the fields.

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