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What is a linocut?


Linocut, also known as lino print, is a  relief printmaking technique similar to a woodcut. A linocut is created using a sheet of linoleum. A design is cut into the linoleum with a sharp V-shaped tool called a gouge. Blades of different shapes can be used to create different types of cuts in the linoleum. The uncarved, raised areas are then rolled with printing ink using a brayer. The linocut is then pressed onto paper by hand or a printing press creating a mirror image of the design. 

Traditionally, linoleum for printmaking comes in a grey or gold ochre colour. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to work with. There have been newer materials produced for linocut printmaking that are softer and easier to carve. Linocuts can be printed in black and white and also in colour. Colour linocuts are made by using a separate block for each colour or a single block that is carved again for each colour in the design. The versatility and simplicity of linocut printmaking has made it appealing to artists since it was first discovered as an art medium.


I carve and print my linocuts by hand using water soluble black ink. Each piece I create begins with a drawing on linoleum. I prefer to use linoleum that is mounted on a wood block. The traditional handmade process of carving and printing is the foundation of my creative process. My artwork combines traditional printmaking with digital design and technology. I scan my lino prints to  fine-tune and colour them digitally. Preserving the graphic texture of the linocut is an important part of my process. Working in a digital format allows me to use my linocut illustrations for a variety of applications including illustrations, logos, packaging, posters and surface pattern designs. 

My Linocut Artwork

Linoleum was invented in 1860 by Frederick Walton. It is made with oxidized linseed oil mixed with cork, gums and pigments. A sheet of linoleum is produced by pressing thin, heated layers of the linseed mixture onto mesh. German Expressionists were the first artists to use linoleum as a printmaking material. Well-known artists Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse also used linocut printmaking in their work.

A peek at the process I use to create my linocut illustrations

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