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Whitby – The story behind the print

The photos below show how I'm making a new Whitby linocut print.

I've since updated this blog with 3 videos showing how I ink up each lino block.

Planning the design

The view is looking down across the bay from Whitby's iconic steps.

Find out more about my day walking along the Cleveland Way on my blog 'Inspiration in Whitby'.

Creating colour variation ideas, one to coordinate with my Robin Hood's Bay and Staithes prints and the other with the iconic red rooftops.

Working out how many lino plates to cut and which colours each will be.

Cutting the design into three lino plates

Lino block 1, the rooftops and view on the horizon.

Lino block 2, the steps and sea.

I transfer the design from lino plate 1 onto lino block 2 so that I can register the design.

A time-lapse video showing how I cut the second lino block/plate.

Lino block 3, the sky, lamp post ad railings. The hardest of all!

Test printing the design

Experimenting with different colours and making any adjustments to the lino plate.

Which is your favourite?

This is a video I made to explain more about planning the design.

Mixing the final inks and printing part of the edition

I've had great feedback from everyone. I've decided to print the majority o the edition based on the colours of test print 'TP4'.

First I mix a pots of the new colours I'll be using so that prints are consistent for future prints.

I use oil based' transparent' ink.

Hand printing lino block 1

This has been a challenging design to print. I've made mistakes on 5 of the 20 prints. Every lino plate/block has its own character.

I’m loving the way I’m getting a darker blue on the sea in the background. A happy accident with inking. The amount cut away on the lino effects the pressure I apply the ink with the roller.

It's also fiddly printing 2 colours in 1 block. I roll on the blue with my 6” roller. Wipe any ink on the windows etc. Then carefully apply the grey with a smaller roller trying not to over ink the fine lines.

Hand printing lino block 2

Printing the roof tops and horizon with deep blue.

Hand printing lino block 3

The first of the batch of the Whitby edition is printed!

I’m delighted that after I posted the test print post last week I received two orders too. 😊

I inked the sky with an extremely transparent blue and the lamp post and railings with black. That means being meticulous about keeping inks & tools separate and hands clean.

I’ve built up thin layers of ink on the plate before printing. Then I've run the plate through the press a second time with scrap paper to blot the excess ink off and avoiding ink filling in the fine details.

Videos showing how I ink each lino block before hand printing

You will notice that on this occasion I printed the design in a diffrent order to the images above.

The finished linocut print

I've named it 'Whitby Steps'.

Click here for details and sizes and get in touch to reserve a print or see my online shop.

I hope you've enjoyed an insight into how I create my prints.


About the author

Michelle Hughes is a printmaker and graphic designer. Her linocut prints are inspired by nature; her love of gardening and the great British countryside.

Michelle loves exploring the countryside by bike or on foot, camera in hand, capturing

ideas for her next prints. Back in her garden studio, Michelle creates simple but stylised silhouettes based on her photographs, and cuts these shapes into lino. She hand prints with an etching press, using oil-based inks to create tonal blocks of colour. Michelle’s prints are limited editions.

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