There are two main ways of creating a multi coloured lino print – either the reduction method or a multi block method or if you are brave a mixture of the two.
The benefit of the reduction method is that all the information is on the one block and that you don’t have to keep cutting the same image which makes
registration easier and more exact. The downsides are you work from the colour of the paper (usually white) through to dark in multiple layers. It
is very tricky to print colours from either side of the colour wheel in the same image, the print is also limited as once you have cut parts away they
cannot be put back so if you decide you do not like the first colour you printed it is too late to do anything about it.
The multi block method, although a little more time consuming for cutting, allows you freedom to change your mind about colour and reprint blocks if needed.
It also allows you to print both sides of the colour wheel in the same image. A two layer reduction print will give you three colours – the paper,
first colour and second colour (mixed with the first colour), whilst a two layer multi block will give you four colours – the paper, first colour
on paper, second colour on paper and second colour mixed with first colour (I hope that makes sense!)
Draw round your sheet of lino and sketch out your first block.
Photocopy this image and plan the second block. I find it easy to colour in the areas I am going to cut away.
Trace each image using carbon paper onto a piece of lino.
Cut out the areas that you have coloured in using lino tools.
We are making a simple registration sheet – the image is very simple and if the registration is not exact it will not matter too much. Draw around
your sheet of paper that you wish to print on. (If we wanted exact registration we would use the Ternes Burton pins and tabs.)
Place your lino inside this rectangle and draw around the lino. Each time you come to print you will always put your inked up lino and paper in the same
You are now ready to print! We are using Cranfield Waterbased Relief Ink, they are made by the same people as Caligo. They are really pigment rich, extremely easy to clean
up, fast drying and unusually for a waterbased ink have an extender so we can alter the transparency which is useful for layering colours.
First layer. Printed with Process Cyan.
Second layer printed with a mixture of Process Magenta and Extender for greater transparency. As you can see there are four colours white (paper)
Cyan, Magenta and Purple.
Different colourways of the same print.
To make your own multi block lino you will need:
Inking tray or glass slab