Creating the background of an illustration by carving linoleum takes a lot of imagining and guessing of what the final print should look like. And that’s also part of the charm and reason for choosing this particular technique. Basically the linoleum block forms a negative image and whatever is left uncarved will get a coat of paint in the final stage of printing. So above is a trial print which turned out overall quite well… phew. The border lines of the images are crisp clear and the fine details of the bee swarm show nicely. I will make little changes to the teddy bear and the final print will not have these clear borders and will “spill” out to leave room for cutting in Photoshop. But I need to see a nice image so I fitted paper to the borders before applying the ink so that this trial print will look closer to what I had in mind.
Here’s the linoleum block:
Choosing the right paper is tricky since I’m working with mixed media. Printing paper is smooth, watercolor paper is textured and the difference will create a grained, textured print or a smooth one, depending on the paper. Also the paper should be soft so that I can hand press it to the block and get all the fine details on print. I am still looking for the right kind of paper.
Here’s what the wall in front of my drawing desk looks like:
Notice the little bear? He is not sure yet how he’d like to be pictured in the final art. So while working on printing the background I’m also thinking about color choices… And of the second layer of print that I should start carving next.