Miniature Linocut Inspired by Frida Kahlo
This linocut is smaller than a business card, but it was a spontaneous and fun session of carving a miniature portrait of Frida Kahlo.
In the last post, I shared a pile of very loved resource books from my studio with ideas, examples, and instructions for relief printmaking. Most of them focused on woodcuts, but the same process approach and principles apply to linocut.
Linocut Print Resources
Linoleum is softer than wood, so carving it is much easier – especially if you have tender hands and fingers. You can also warm the linoleum in the sun before carving it, to soften the material. Printmaker Nick Morley (LinocutBoy) has some great tips for prepping your linoleum before carving over here.
Inspired to Make a Linocut
This little linocut portrait was inspired by the lovely Frida Kahlo. I’ve been fascinated by her face and costumes for a long time.
I don’t know what it’s like to march to such a different drummer the way she did. I suspect her courage was stored in the same vault as the pain and tragedies of her youth. But she was fiercely beautiful, and creatively prolific, despite a life of pain.
Who are your artist heroes? Do you ever draw, paint or print portraits of them?
Working Small in Linocut Prints
I like to become familiar with new materials and techniques in a petite format.
Working small as a new printmaker can be done at the kitchen table, in a few hours, using small blocks, a little ink, and some good printmaking paper cut down to small sizes.
Little blocks of linoleum can be found on Amazon (like this 6-pack). A speedball carving tool with assorted tips tucked into the handle is not very expensive, and it’s a good choice to start with. (I still use one I found at an estate sale 20 years ago.) If you already have one and want to “graduate” to a better set of carving tools, treat yourself to a Flexcut set.
Getting Started in Printmaking by Keeping Things Simple
A single color of water-wash up relief printmaking ink goes a long way in familiarizing a beginner with rolling ink out with a brayer on a bench hook or a spare sheet of plexiglass.
If you’re looking for affordable ways to resource linoleum for relief printmaking, read this post where I’ve calculated the costs to help you find the most economical way to buy linoleum for linocut printmaking projects.
Read Books about Linocut Printmaking
If you’ve never made a linocut before, or it’s been a couple of decades, read a little about making one before you jump in.
It’s not a complicated printmaking method (pinky promise), but the specifics of the courtship between ink, block, and paper, when heeded, will lead to more success and less failure.
When trying new things, success spurs us forward to keep going. Failure leads to a loss of creative appetite. Reach for success with a little research beforehand.
I’ve listed some linocut-specific books below, and be sure to check out the relief print books in the last post too.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post!
P.S. Have you ever read the wiki page on linocut?
P.P.S. Speaking of small lino, have you see the Instagram account of Kester Crawford?
P.P.P.S. Have you seen the gorgeous pattern relief prints my friend Margaret Rankin is making with cut-out cardboard?
When Mark Rothko used tempera, he would follow a procedure that has existed since the Renaissance, separating dozens of eggs, and beating the whites into a consistency close to that of a soufflé. Those few friends who saw Rothko perform this rite were delighted by the bulky Balzacian figure, with large hands, delicately transferring yolk after yolk, from half shell to half shell.Legacy of Mark Rothko – Lee Seldes