Linocut – markmaking

The first project in assignment 2 was to create a range of marks using different tools. Here’s one of the resulting prints (with added row/col markers):

Mark making


Here are my lino cutting tools sitting on my little hooked cutting board:

  • On the left is a 1mm v tool,
  • Then the separate blades numbered on the right numbered 1 – 5, with 1-4 being V and U shapes, and 5 being the scalpel. I think the 1mm tool and the no. 1 blade are probably much the same but they do give slightly different marks, the 1mm tool being shallower.
  • I also used a craft knife (not pictured), and also tried pressing a couple of things pressed into the lino.

And I also had this thing – an old “Powerline Model 72 Hobbyist Kit” that belonged to my dad, which included some lino cutting blades. I thought I would give it a go, but once I got it all hooked together and switched it on, I was genuinely afraid it would fly apart and take someone’s eye out.

Scary tool

I got as far as very gingerly making two marks (wearing Alex’s sunglasses for protection), whereupon it spat rust all over the block while making a horrendous noise, before I gave up and chucked it in the bin!


I actually did this back in the summer, on a very hot day, sitting outside. The temperature helped to warm the lino, which always helps the cutting process hugely (otherwise Iwould use a hairdryer or low oven to heat it up).

Mark making

First row

  • A1 – Blade 3
  • A2 – Blade 2
  • A3 – Blade 1
  • A4 – 1mm v tool

Second row

  • B1 – All the V and U blades, at the top pressed vertically down into the lino, and below, pressed down then gouged to form the u or v shapes.
  • B2 – All the V and U blades, rocked.
  • B3 – Scalpel tool used to cut and lift various shapes.
  • B4 – Blade 4

Third row

  • C1 – Cross hatched shapes using 3 blades.
  • C2 – Blades 1 and 3
  • C3 – Organic/floral shapes using blade 1
  • C4 – Leaf shapes – Blade 1 to cut shapes, Blade 3 to clear white space.

Fourth row

  • D1 – Use of craft knife to carve and lift geometric shapes, plus a round shape made by pressing a washer into the lino with pliers.
  • D2 – 3D shape with an attempt at gradient using blade 2
  • D3 – Pattern suggesting organic shapes/wood using blade 2
  • D4 – Small marks of varying depths using 1mm v tool (suggesting grass with water perhaps?), with blade 2 used above.

Fifth row

  • E1 – Use of 1mm v tool in various ways include shallow stabbing, meandering and hatched marks.
  • E2 – Use of blade 2 in one direction to give texture. Again may suggest wood. Similar to E4 but deliberately removed more lino to give effect of “black on white”.
  • E3 – Geometric pattern using Blade 1, with white areas lifted using  the scalpel tool.
  • E4 – Same approach as E2, but with more black left behind to give “white on black”.

Sixth row

  • F1 – Various marks made with blade 3, including rocking.
  • F2, F3, F4 – Various marks attempting textures using 1mm v tool.


This was my first attempt for a while at using water-based inks to print a lino block. At first and without thinking, I followed the habits I’d learned during the monoprinting assignment and used medium to thin the inks…this was daft because the inks are designed especially for block printing in the first place. The result was that some of the inks rand into the cut lines here and there. Lesson learned!


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