One of the most appealing things about linocut printmaking is how quick, simple and inexpensive a printmaking process it can be. You have the option of going all out and buying a press, working with lots of different coloured inks and layers and on a large scale but you also have the option of printing on a small scale, using one layer and pressing the print by hand.
From experience, I have found that the most important material to get right when lino printing by hand is the paper. The main properties you need your paper to have is for it to be thin (approx 120gsm or under) and smooth, to ensure that the detail on the lino block gets picked up, and if you don’t mind the appearance of your print being mottled/patchy you can pretty much use any paper. However, if you want your print to have that ‘fresh off the press’ look, this can be achieved if you’re willing to spend a little bit more money on paper. I find that Japanese printmaking paper is ideal for this - it is thin yet strong and super absorbent so it takes the ink really well, giving you a really solid finish.
Here is a link to some of my favourite Japanese papers that are sold at Lawrence Art Supplies:
To press the print, you have the choice of using a baren (https://www.lawrence.co.uk/japanese-baren-100mm.html) an additional roller or the back of a spoon. Fortunately, the cheapest/free option (grab one from your kitchen!) is also the most effective in my opinion - the trusty wooden spoon! Whilst having less surface area than a baren or a roller, you’re able to apply pressure more efficiently meaning that you’re more likely to get a nice, flat print with solid ink coverage.
This video talks you through how to print from a lino block using oil based water-washable inks, a Durathene roller, a wooden spoon, and Kitakata Green Japanese paper.
Georgia Flowers - Foxglove Art & Printmaking
Materials used in the video:
3.2mm traditional lino
Oil based water-washable ink
Glass inking plate