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How I made my Nidderdale linocut print

Updated: Feb 21

In this blog I'll show you how I created my new Nidderdale linocut print.


The inspiration for this design comes from a photo I took in July 2017, while mountain biking in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. I’ve had the photo on my list of ones to do for a while. I’ll be honest, I had thought it was in the Lake District. I got in touch with my ex boyfriend and discovered it was actually Nidderdale. It’s obvious now that I look at it. Now that I plan a lot of my own routes, I pay far more attention to maps and where I’ve been!

View to Gouthwaite Reservoir, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire
View to Gouthwaite Reservoir, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

A friend recognised the picture. From her description I've pinned the photo down to the old drovers route of In Moor Lane leading to Middlesmoor in Nidderdale.

It's actually very poignet on many levels. I illustrated a book for a local author last autumn, which included researching drover routes.

I also cycled around Nidderdale with my friend Fiona, on the hottest day of the year last summer. We started at Ripon, going through Pateley Bridge, past Gouthwaite Reservoir and up Trapping Hill, near Lofthouse. It goes on and on and was blooming hard work in mid day heat! We hadn’t realised that it’s a category 3 killer hill climb.

I’m planning on going back to the area walking. This Lofthouse to Scar House Reservoir is a walking route similar to the one I cycled with my mountain bike. It’s a 9.6 mile circular walk, starting at the village of Lofthouse. It walks towards Scar House reservoir and across the River Nidd. Then past the copse of trees in this linocut design to Middlesmoor and back to the start.

There's also a good walk in my green Yorkshire Dales - Pathfinder walks guidebook. It’s a 4 mile circular walk starting at Middlesmoor and back along the river Nidd and through Lofthouses.

The Nidderdale Way is a 53 miler circular long-distance footpath. That’s one for another time.

Sketching design concepts

I treated myself to an Apple pencil last year. I love it! I use the Procreate app on my iPad to quickly sketch ideas. They’re quite rough and free but give me a quick idea if the composition and colour balance will work. It’s made such a difference. I tend to sketch ideas in bed when I get back from cycling or walking. The ideas are then fresh in my head and I think I capture the essence of the landscape better then.

Once I’m happy with a design I’ll sketch it in more detail for transferring onto lino blocks.

Lino block 1 sketch

Transferring the design onto the first lino block using carbon paper.

Carving lino block 1

I’ve chosen to carve the tree onto the first block as this is the main feature of the design.

Transferring the design to lino blocks 2 and 3

I transferred the carved tree design onto 2 more lino blocks and added the other design elements for the rest of the landscape.

All 3 lino blocks carved

Inking up lino block 1 with a mid green Hawthorns oil-based ink.

Test printing the pale green

Inking up the block with a pale green ink for the foreground grass.

Test printing the mid green

Inking up the block with a mid green for the background of the distant landscape.

Test printing the charcoal grey

Inking up the trees with a charcoal grey ink.

Test prints so far with 3 colours printed

The test print so far. 3 colours printed, 2 more to do.