How to make linocut prints with two colours or more
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
There are four main techniques to make linocut prints with more than one colour.
Reduction lino print
Multi-block lino print
Jigsaw lino print
Hand-coloured lino print
What is a reduction linocut print?
Reduction linocut is a method of block printing in which each colour layer is carved into the same lino block. Part of the design is carved into the block and printed. The process is then repeated for each layer of colour. The design is often printed working from the lightest first to darkest colours last. Often referred to as a ‘sabotage’ print.
The advantage of this method is that registration (how each colour layer lines up) is easier.
The block is destroyed as each layer is carved. Once the edition is printed you can’t go back to print more.
What is a multi-block linocut print?
Multi-block linocut is a method of block printing in which more than one piece of lino is used to create a design. Often each colour to be printed is carved onto a separate lino block.
I now use the multi-block method for all my multi-coloured prints
The advantage of this method is that you can print part of the edition and go back to print more in the future.
The lino block isn’t destroyed as with the reduction print technique.
The design can be test printed first and the lino blocks and colours adjusted before printing the final edition.
As the design is carved into several blocks it is harder to accurately register the design.
Multi-block print example: How the hare linocut for my online course is made
This 3-colour print hare was made for my How to make a multi-block linocut print online course.
The images below show the individually carved lino blocks and the lino print as each layer was printed. I printed light to dark.
Examples of my multi-block lino prints
Multi-block print example: How Swaledale II is made.
The images below show the carved lino block, inked up block and corresponding printed layers tha