As a rule I’ve stuck to just one-color linocuts mainly because my printing setup at the moment is fairly primitive. What I want to talk about here is going to be about woodcuts, but the same rules apply to linocuts and the process of pulling prints.
The main thing to solve when doing more than one color in a hand-pulled print, is getting the colors to line up. In any multi-color printing process, this is called “registration” and it applies to pretty much all color printing, whether it’s magazines, cereal boxes, or your inkjet printer. You know when you put a new ink cartridge in and you have to print out that one sample page? That’s so your printer can register the colors.
I haven’t seen this method of proofing on any other linocut websites (and there are quite a few!) but it may be because I’m always trying to squeeze more detail out of a fairly “coarse” medium.
This video goes into the process of proofing with a rubbing, in order to see what is actually cut. Since the process is to do a black line drawing on the lino, then cut away everything else, it’s often difficult to “see” the cut areas clearly as work progresses. The rubbing reveals all this easily.
‘Stop him, stop him!’ cries the woman, almost breathless. ‘Stop him, sir!’
He darts across the road into the boy’s path, but the boy is quicker than he, makes a curve, ducks, dives under his hands, comes up half-a-dozen yards beyond him, and scours away again. Still the woman follows, crying, ‘Stop him, sir, pray stop him!’
There are a few materials that have been traditionally used for coating with ink and pulling prints by hand. The most common, linoleum and wood, have no intrinsic quality that makes them suitable for inking and pressing paper onto to make a print. Any flat surface will do, in fact there are many other mediums (steel plates, copper, even potatoes!) that are used one way or another for making prints.
Mr. Guppy sitting on the window-sill, nodding his head and balancing all these possibilities in his mind, continues thoughtfully to tap it, and clasp it, and measure it with his hand, until he hastily draws his hand away.
‘What, in the devil’s name,’ he says, ‘is this! Look at my fingers!’
“He was a fat old gentleman with a false complexion, false teeth, false whiskers, and a wig. He had a fur collar, and he had a padded breast to his coat, which only wanted a star or a broad blue ribbon to be complete. He was pinched in, and swelled out, and got up, and strapped down, as much as he could possibly bear.
It was a thing to look at. The three children close together, and two of them relying solely on the third, and the third so young and yet with an air of age and steadiness that sat so strangely on the childish figure. “Charley, Charley!” said my guardian. “How old are you?” “Over thirteen, sir,” replied the child. “Oh! What a great age,” said my guardian. “What a great age, Charley!” I cannot describe the tenderness with which he spoke to her, half playfully yet all the more compassionately and mournfully.