Sometimes, you sit down to do your linocut printmaking and everything just prints right. The paper, the moisture, the ink and pressure all work together to churn out beautiful prints. More often than not, there is experimentation to be done regarding soaking time, ink type and even temperature, and pressure. Today, it felt like every printmaking variable was against me, but with patience and some craftiness, I solved each problem and got into the flow of printing some nice looking prints. Although I use a Pocket Press to press all of my prints, these variables affect printmakers using all types of presses.
When I switched from waterbased ink to Akua, I got the back of the plate wet scrubbing off the water based ink. After that, my plate became bowed and every print came out blurry. I tried setting the plate under a stack of books, but it wasn’t unwarping quickly enough. Double stick tape wasn’t working either, because it wouldn’t stick to the woven back of the linoleum. Finally, I applied duct tape to the back of the plate. The duct take stuck to the plate and the double stick tape held to the duct tape.
After my plate was secure, I was getting nice prints with my cardstock. But, when I switched to a thick Bristol, the thickness of the paper caused shifting. Using my Registration Platen worked, but I didn’t feel like punching the holes it needs to do its job. So I opted to soak the Bristol for a couple of minutes before each print. Drying it well prevented….
Drying my paper very well between a folded towel and making sure to roll out my ink so that my roller wasn’t too saturated kept the ink from clogging my high detailed areas.
Banding is when you can see the tracks of your press on your finished print. Another term for this, if you’re an artists, is “evidence of process.” Banding occurred because I was pressing too hard, and applying too much pressure to just one side of the rollers. Pressing evenly and with a light touch, and overlapping the rows a lot solved this issue.
Eventually, I got the kinks worked out and settled on Akua ink with a light application and a one to two minute soak time. You can see me working on my Registration Pressbed here, but I just used its surface and clip for convenience. These linocut printmaking troubleshooting tips all apply to the Printmaking Kit in a Box, too. Like my Cacti at Night print? They are available in the shop and cane be framed and hung or the blank back can be used as a card. Or, pick up a Pocket Press Kit in the shop and print your own creation.