What is a linocut, lino or linoleum print?

Original print art…

Linocut, lino or linoleum prints are made by carving into a block of lino/linoleum. Not the flooring lino, but an artist's lino which is specially made for the art.

In brief, a block of lino is cut, then inked and put through a press. Linocuts are what's called: original prints. The distinctive thing about original prints is that they are not made by pressing a 'print' button on a computer or printing machine. Lino cutting is just one way of making original prints.

Below is a visual step-by-step I'm developing which hopefully helps you understand what a lino print is

How Linocut prints are made, in pictures:

  1. Repeat steps 10, 11 and 12 for each of the other prints in the edition… so 24 times for an edition of 25 prints.
  2. Repeat 7 steps starting at step 7 and ending at 'clean-up' for each colour…
  3. Do a little jig and treat yourself to a nice cuppa with a job well done!

Hopefully this begins to give you an idea what linocuts, lino or linoleum prints are, by seeing how they are made. I'm always looking to improve these images so am likely to change some.

Examples of my lino prints

The equipment used to make linocuts

Notice the absence of anything with a plug attached…

Usually an Albion press is used to print lino art, which is specifically designed for block printmaking techniques. I didn't have the funds or the space for one, so I use a small benchtop etching press instead. All the lino prints on this website have been made using the press illustrated above – so far. The biggest size of linocut I can print using my press is about 305mm/12" wide, though I can make long prints.

I have recently invested in something called a 'baren' which will mean I can make prints that are too big to put through my small press. I'll explain more once I've tried it out!