I’ve had a really extended Making Friday in July, spending every Saturday at Warren Editions learning the art of CMYK lino printing from master printmaker Zhané Warren and head of relief prints, Morné Visagie.
Because I’m a completely self taught designer (thanks, Google!), I’ve got a lot to learn about the ‘proper’ way to do things. And boy, are they proper at Warren Editions.
I LOVED every minute of my four weeks of printmaking, which went something like this.
We first had to trace the shapes in the image we’d chosen (mine was a photo I’d taken for our Paradise is Here Lookbook) and then use Blue, Magenta, Yellow or Black pencil crayons to mark out the areas that would be printed in each of those colours.
Using carbon paper, I traced each of the shapes for each of the colours onto four pieces of linoleum, making sure that each one was correctly aligned with the others, so that my prints would register. Registration for hand printing used an ingenious technique of a 90 degree corner of lino with registration marks on it, held in place by a clipboard, so that each of the four prints register perfectly. So clever!
Morné showed us how to carve our lino, using a wonderful warm metal sheet (fantastic for winter weather), and then we delved deep into the arcane art of mixing inks from pigments. Ulp! It’s pretty complex!
After some serious rubbing with the back of a wooden spoon, my first colour – Yellow – was printed and went onto the rack to dry. We did four spoon-rubbed prints and four on the press, which was a great way to see how different types of printing methods would result in very different looking prints.
Oil-based inks take a long time to dry, and lino takes a long time to carve, so the workshop extended over four weekends, and we followed up our Yellow printing the next week with Magenta, then Cyan and finally Black, as we slowly and painstakingly built up the CMYK printed image. Here’s a little time-lapse of my progress:
Week 1: Yellow
Week 2: Magenta (quite a transparent mix printed over yellow makes an orangey yellow). I was VERY happy that my registration worked so well!
Week 3: Cyan (over yellow makes green)
Week 4: Black – which in my case, was possibly not strictly necessary, as the Cyan layer had turned out so well, but it was a CMYK workshop, so I went all the way.
I’m really going to miss my Saturday mornings in the print studio, and look forward to signing up for another Warren Editions workshop soon. In the meantime, I’ll be printing away with my wooden spoon.
Interested? Here’s more:
Warren Editions website
I haven’t watched it yet, but here is a Skillshare video about lino printing on paper that looks great.