This post will show step by step photographs and give instructions on creating a four color reduction linoleum block print. First, you must decide how big your edition will be (how many prints you want to end up with) and cut your paper in advance. You should always cut a few more pieces of paper, as you may loose prints due to mis-registration (lining up print with paper) during the printing process. As you get more experienced, you will become better at registration.
Image #1 - shows a plain piece of linoleum, which, in this case, is a gold color (linoleum also comes in a gray color). My preference is for unmounted linoleum, which mean there is no wood block attached to the back of the piece of linoleum.
Linoleum block prints can be done by hand, but I have a small etching press and prefer to print the inked blocks via my press because it gives a more even distribution of the ink. This is also why I tend to use unmounted linoleum, since a piece of mounted linoleum would be difficult to print on my etching press. This is totally a personal aesthetic preference. Hand printing adds its own unique quality to a print and may be the preference of the printer.
After printing the first flat color, I draw my image onto the block. In this case, I drew my image directly on the block, keeping in mind that the image will print in reverse. In a future post, I will discuss drawing transfer methods.
The print must hang and dry for several days (I use oil based inks). Note - before each printing, the paper must soak in water for at least 5 minutes. The previous layer of ink should dry completely first, not because it will run, but because it will make for better adhesion and eliminate the possibility of smudges.
Below - The finished print. I printed 20 of these (Started with 21, I lost one...oh well! )