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Linocut Reduction Printmaking with a Pocket Press

reduction printmaking

After weeks of contemplation and experimentation, I created a way for linocut printmakers to print multiple color passes and use dry paper! I’m proud to introduce my invention, the Registration Pressbed for reduction printmaking! This blog will show you how to press a linocut using this setup. This printmaking press and platen has built in registration for pressing reduction prints. It can also print etchings, monoprints, and collagraphs.

linocut press

The pegs at the bottom hold your paper perfectly in place through all your color runs. The original Magic Platen can be used for linocuts, but you have to use damp paper or tape down your paper because dry paper shifts slightly while pressing. With this version of the Magic Platen, the built in registration bar keeps the paper from shifting, and it makes registration a cinch because your paper will always lay down in the exact same spot. Just make sure your plates are the same size, and mark where you put your plate with tape or a grease pencil.

To create the powerline plate, I started with an original photograph and some carbon paper. Carbon paper is a must have for every printmaker because it makes it possible to transfer an image without obliterating the original drawing. It makes it easy to work from photographs.

You can’t even see the pencil lines on the photo, but to really preserve your original image, use something like the other end of a paint brush- something pointed enough to trace that won’t leave any marks.

I carved my plate in about 5 minutes using my bench hook.

bench hook

Watch to see how to set up your paper and press a 2 color print using a Pocket Press and Magic Platen:

I know that you’re thinking. My registration is off. I have the opportunity for perfect registration with every print run, but my plates were not exactly same shape. Hey, at least I didn’t carve anything backwards.

Tips on pressing a reduction linocut with this setup:

  1. I put a small amount of ink on the top of the registration pins and lay my paper on top of them. The ink transfers to the paper so I know where to punch the holes. Remember, slide your paper onto the pins first, then clip it at the top.
  2. Use matboard and create a frame for your plate. This way, the press won’t push the paper down on either side of the plate. If you skip this you will need to make sure you only apply pressure on the plate.
  3. Be mindful of pressure. It doesn’t take much pressure to transfer linocut images. But really overlap your rows when you print. Only press away from your body; away from the registration pins. I used Akua ink and oil based ink for the 2 color layers in my print. The Akua ink requires barely any pressure to transfer, but the oil based ink is thinner, so I press a little harder.

Like my reduction prints? I sell them on Etsy!

How to press a linocut

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