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How I made my Lealholm, Esk Valley linocut print

In this blog, I'll show you how I created my new Lealholm linocut print. The design is a 5 colour print made using the multi-block printing technique.

Step 1 | Inspiration

The inspiration for this design comes from two days cycling in the Esk Valley, North York Moors.

With a road map in my back pocket, I set off cycling from the Yorkshire Cycle Hub to explore the Esk Valley. I had no particular plan. With the long daylight hours, I had all afternoon and evening. Lots of inspiration for new linocut prints!

Lealholm, Esk Valley, North York Moors
Lealholm, Esk Valley, North York Moors

Step 2 | Sketching design concepts

I had sketched the design roughly on my Ipad. Printed it off and used watercolours to plan the colours of the design. I then transferred the design onto the 1st lino block.

Step 3 | Carving lino block 1

Carving the main elements of the design that will give me a structure to work to.

In the process of test printing I decided to remove the grass verge that is in the foreground. You will notice that on the final prints at the end of this blog.

Step 4 | Transferring the design to lino blocks 2 and 3

Transferring the design from block 1 onto 2 more lino blocks.

I use watercolor to indicate the area of each block which will be left in relief. It also helps me see the areas I've carved away more easily. The crosses and non coloured areas show the areas to be carved away.

Step 5 | Carving lino block 2

Carving the heather, foxgloves, house and road. I will ink this block up with 2 different colours.

Step 6 | Carving lino block 3

Carving the areas for the mid green. This includes the detail on the foreground ferns.

Step 7 | All lino blocks carved and ready for printing

Often the design will evolve as I do my test prints to see what work. In this design I decided to create a 4th lino block for the sky, so that I could include cloud details.

Step 8 | Test printing and mixing colours

In this blog I have missed out the test printing stage. 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 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 9 | Printing colour 1

Inking up the block with pale grey.

Step 10 | Printing colour 2

Inking up the block with mid green.

Step 11 | Printing colour 3

Inking up the block with heather purple.

Step 12 | Printing colour 4

Inking up the block with dark green.

For each colour I roll several layers of ink onto my lino block. I then place the block in my etching press. Put paper onto. Wind the handle and lift of the paper.

I repeat this for each colour and each print. This video show the dark green being printed.

Step 13 | Printing colour 5

Inking up the block with pale blue.

Step 14 |The final print

I print small amounts of the print edition to begin with. Usually between 10 and 20. I often reject 30 to 50% the first time I print a design for printing mistakes and imperfections.

Nidderdale, Yorkshire, linocut print
'Lealholm', Esk Valley, linocut print

'Lealholm', Esk Valley, linocut print - Framed
'Lealholm', Esk Valley, linocut print - Framed

Limited edition linocut print. Edition of 60

Image size 160 x 160mm Mount aperture 190 x 190mm

Mount outer 305 x 305mm

Frame size (outer edge) 340 x 340mm

Mounted £90 Framed £120

See my online shop or get in touch to order.

Let me know what you think...

I always love to hear your feedback on new designs. Especially in these uncertain times. Please do comment below.

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About the author

Michelle Hughes is a North Yorkshire landscape artist. Much of her work depicts the Yorkshire landscape and Yorkshire coast, including the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Michelle loves exploring the British countryside by bike or on foot, camera in hand, capturing ideas for her next linocut prints. Back in her garden studio, Michelle creates simple but stylised silhouettes based on her photographs, and hand carves these shapes into lino. She hand prints with an etching press, using oil-based inks to create tonal blocks of colour.

Michelle’s original linocut prints are limited editions.



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