Bass rock linocut

Single colour linocut

Here the task was to create an print using a single lino cut block, in a single colour. For this I chose an image of a local landmark – the bass rock in the Firth of Forth. Here’s the finished print:

Bass rock linocut

Development and cutting the block

1. I started with a rough sketch from a photo of the rock using white pencil on black paper to help to plan the print:

Rough sketch of the rock

2. The Bass Rock is famous for its gannet colony – I found some online photos of gannets and sketched and traced a selection, adjusting them to the right size for the print. (I got permission to use the  photos – they include images by Tim Parkinson @

3. I traced all the elements of the picture, cut them out and arranged them against  black paper to create the composition…

arranging the elements

4. …then traced over the whole thing:

5. Then transferred the traced image to the lino block using carbon paper. I sketched the waves and sky contours straight onto the lino.

6.  Here’s the final lino block:

Cut lino block


Printing at home with the water-based inks, I again had to find the balance between not enough ink (patchy results) and too much (ink flowing onto the cut areas). However this time I had much more success by using a wooden spoon instead of my Japanese baren! The spoon let me apply more  pressure so that I didn’t have to apply so much ink to get a good print. At the same time I actually found that the “patchy” result you get when you don’t have enough ink/pressure was perfect for adding texture to the image of the rock. So I deliberately applied more pressure to the sea and sky, and less to the rock’s vertical sides – hopefully you can see what I mean here:



I enjoyed this one, and think I may create a longer edition of this print as I’m quite pleased with how it’s come out. The bit I’m least pleased with is the lighthouse – it’s just not as defined as I wanted it to be, but it’s not bad.


3 responses to “Bass rock linocut

  1. This is a beautiful image. I love the quality of the textures and the markmaking. The composition and how you’ve you worked the positive and negative images, the dimensions and perspective – all fabulous. Rock, sea and sky, wonderful. ~Fiona

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