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Making Swaledale II - 5 colour multi-block linocut print

Updated: Apr 11

I use the multi-block method to create my multi-coloured linocut prints. Below I've outlined each of the stages used to make Swaledale II.

Step 1 | Inspiration

I just adore Swaledale, both for cycling and walking. In April I drove over to the Dales Bike Centre to cycle through Reeth , along to Maker and Keld, then up to Tan Hill. As some restrictions were still in place, it meant hotels and B&Bs were still closed and the area was blissfully quiet.

Some of my favorite views are from the road from Thwaite and Angram. The perfect spot for lunch to the sound of curlews. This is one of the views that inspired one of my latest linocut prints, Swaledale II.

Read more about my inspiration and photos from my walks and cycle rides in the Yorkshire Dales National Park this year in my

Yorkshire Dales: exploring Swaledale, Wharfedale, Littondale and Wensleydale in 2021 blog.

Step 2 | Sketching design concepts

I often sketch concepts on paper as well as on my iPad. I find that sketching designs at the actual size on paper, gives me a clearer idea of what’s possible to carve in lino. I tend to have more flow and a better quality of line when I sketch in real life. It also starts to get the muscle memory going when I carve the lino. It does make a big difference on long sweeping curves.

In this instance I planned how the colours would layer up in Procreate on my iPad. I do this very roughly. I then sketched the design onto tracing paper in black pencil and used watercolours to roughly show my colouration behind.

I often work on a few designs in a series at the same time. The main reason for this is so that I can see how they’ll look as a collection but also to speed up the test printing, ink mixing and printing of the final prints. Using so many colours, means it takes a long time to clean up all the inks and rollers. Here I was working on a Malham Cove and Grassington design at the same time. Grassington is still in the ‘This is rubbish’ naughty corner!