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How I made Ennerdale Water, Lake District linocut print

Updated: Feb 21

In this blog, I'll show you how I created my new Ennerdale linocut print. The design is a seven colour print made using the multi-block printing technique.

Step 1 | Inspiration

The inspiration for this design comes from a photo I took in Ennerdale in the Lake District last year. I spent 2 days walking and cycling around Ennerdale.

Ennerdale Water is the most westerly lake in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria. It is the only lake in the Lake District that doesn’t have a road along it. At 8 am the reflections on the steel blue lake perfectly mirrored the hillside above.

Walking along the footpath south of the lake I followed the path of the infamous Coast to Coast Walk. The 188-mile walking route was created by Alfred Wainright and crosses three National Parks across the North of England. The path clings to the lakeside before climbing slightly up the rocky shoreline for views of the route ahead down the valley. I just knew that this view would work well as a linocut design.

Read more about the trip in my Inspiration in Ennerdale, Lake District blog.

Step 2 | Design concepts

I sketched the design roughly on my Ipad so that I could work out the composition and colour balance of the design. It also means I can play with different colourways quickly.

Step 3 | Carving lino block 1

Carving the main elements of the design. While test printing the design I removed the texture on the right of the lino block.

Step 4 | Carving lino block 2

Carving the foreground and layers of mountains in the background. I have added different mark-making techniques to the design to add texture to the mountains and rocks.

I will ink this block up with 4 different tones of grey.

Step 6 | Carving lino block 3

Carving the areas for the lake and sky. I removed a couple of the areas after test printing.

Step 5 | All lino blocks carved and ready for printing

Three lino blocks are ready for test printing.

I adjusted the design after test printing and removed some areas that I felt were not needed.

Step 6 | Test printing

This is where I test out the design to see if it works. The purpose of test printing is:

  • To see if the lino blocks to line up, we call this registration and make adjustments if necessary.

  • To adjust elements in the design that I want to change

  • To experiment and play with colour.

Often this can mean spending as much time adjusting the block as I did carving it the first time. It can be a whole day's work.

Step 7 | Printing colour 1

Inking up the block with green oil-based ink.

Step 8 | Printing colour 2,3,4,5,6

Inking up the block tones of grey. While test printing I experimented with applying different tones of grey ink to each part of the design. I wanted to have the foreground rocks to be dark slate grey. I then wanted each mountain to have a different tone. I did this by adding more and more transparent ink to the first colour I mixed.

It's been a little tricky to do on one block and does mean that each of the prints I have printed is different.