Monday, January 14, 2013

Tour of my Tool Kit

My tool kit is brilliant!  It was a gift from Mum and Dad is one of the best presents I've ever been given.  It was made by Scott Exeley Leathers out at Arthurstone near Meigle.  It's very cleverly designed, with a slot for each tool, and rolls up neatly.  It protects my tools, and when each slot is full, I am confident I have everything with me I need to create a linocut.

You can buy a very cheap lino cutting handle and individual tool heads you can screw into the handle - such as the red handled tool below.  However, I would strongly recommend buying 'Swiss cutting tools' - the wooden handled tools below - available from Intaglio Printmakers.  I have been amazed at the range of cuts you can make every time I’ve bought a new tool.It’s very true that a crafts person is only as good as their tools.

Once you’ve bought your tools, you also need to buy a leather strop and some honing paste to keep your tools sharp.  It’s really important to sharpen your tools every time before you start cutting and about once an hour while you’re creating your lino cut.

I keep other equipment in my tool kit - tools for cutting, and pencils and pens for laying out the designs.


If you're interested in doing a workshop or seeing my prints, have a look at or

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Double Line Technique

You can also use what I call the ‘double line’ technique. This is where you use your tool to draw an inner outline to a shape. This helps to delineate and emphasise the features and structure of the shape. 

In a Christmas card I produced of Max, our black Patterdale terrier, you can see the use of this technique clearly .  Below is the both the linocut and a print of the whole card.

Linocut of Christmas Patterdale card
Print of Linocut of Christmas Patterdale
Let's take a closer look at the double line technique by focusing on the panel of Max and Santa looking at each other.  On the right, you can see how this linocut would have looked if I’d just used a single line to render his features.  To me this version looks flat, boring and too simple.  The version on the left is much more clearly delineated.

The same panel, but comparing the use of the single and 'double line' technique.
This is an especially useful technique as it means you can add detail and shape to an otherwise solid coloured area. You need to be aware of the overall, outer shape of the area and the inner shapes which you need to outline which make up this area.

Fragmented Santa!  The continuous line around his body has been broken up.
Make sure your inner lines do not breach your outer line at all.  Keep them at least 1-2mm away from the edge of the shape.  If you take them right to the edge, you will fragment your linocut into little bits, and you will lose the sense and structure of what you are trying to illustrate. Look at Santa above - I've extended all the internal lines and broken through his outline. This has separated the different parts of his body and they now appear to be floating about!

Like to see some Christmas Art Prints for sale?  Have a look at: