Materials For Block Printing

Anyone who can carve his name on a tree can make a block print. Suppose you want to make one now. Instead of using wood, you can use linoleum because it is easier to carve. The materials you need are paper, a pencil, a piece of linoleum about the size of this page and about VA of an inch thick, block-printing ink, some watercolor paint, a stiff-haired brush about Vi inch wide, a heavy board, and a table to work on. First, draw the picture or design you want to print on a piece of paper.

While you draw, try to think about how it would feel to be carving these lines into something hard. That way you will draw only the lines you really need. Remember that in block printing everything comes out backward. If you want to make a print of a person looking to the right, either draw him looking to the left or later, trace the drawing backwards on the block.

To get an idea of how the drawing will look when it is printed, hold it up to the mirror. When you do that, imagine that the pencil lines are white and the white spaces you see will be black or colored. When you are finished with your drawing, you then trace it on the linoleum. Some people make the drawing directly on the block. In either case it is a good idea to paint the block with white watercolor first so that you can follow the black lines easily when you carve.