Out of all the mediums I've experimented with, linoleum printing stands out as one of my favorites. It's a versatile technique that enables me to create exceptional prints that are truly unique. Over time, I've discovered several linoprinting tools that are vital for producing high-quality prints. In this article, I'll share my top 5 favorite linoprinting tools that every artist should consider having.
Brown Linoleum Plates
Brown linoleum plates are my go-to choice for linoprinting. The ones I love are made from natural materials and are 3.2 mm thick, making them easy to engrave and cut. Their softness allows for easy work with gouges, making them ideal for creating intricate designs.
These blocks are composed of a mixture of clay and linseed oil pressed on burlap, resulting in a material that is easy to work with and yields high-quality prints. I usually purchase mine from Géant des Beaux Arts or Creastore in France.
When it comes to gouges, I prefer the ones from Pfeil. Although they are a little more expensive, their quality is unmatched. These gouges are perfect for carving and cutting linoleum plates, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different design needs. Their precision and durability make them a worthwhile investment for any artist who is serious about linoprinting.
However, if you are new to Linoprinting, you can also try Flexcut tools, which I like to use as they are good quality yet affordable.
Aquawash Ink from Charbonnel
For ink, I love to use Aquawash from Charbonnel. These inks are solvent-free, which makes them more environmentally friendly and leaves the material easy to clean. I also appreciate the vibrancy of the colors. To get the color that suits me best, I make my own mixes. The ink is easy to work with and produces consistent and beautiful results.
My favorite brayers are the Japanese ones that I bought in Hong Kong. While I'm unable to find the brand, they have a wooden handle and a soft roller, which makes them very pleasant to use. I have 5 rolls, so I can alternate according to the size: two small, two medium, and one large. Brayers are essential for spreading ink evenly across the linoleum plate and achieving a clean and consistent print.
Textured and Handmade Paper
For the paper, I like to use textured paper to give more substance to my creations. Sometimes, I even use handmade paper that I buy from other artisans on Etsy. The paper you choose will depend on the effect you want to achieve, so I encourage you to experiment with different types and textures. Paper plays a crucial role in the final result of your print, so don't overlook its importance.
Bonus Tool: Woodzilla Press
While a press is not strictly necessary for linoprinting, it can make the process much easier and more consistent. I use a Woodzilla press in A3 size, and I love it! But I spent a good year doing everything the traditional way, "with a spoon" before I could afford it :).
A press ensures that the ink is evenly distributed and applied with the right amount of pressure, resulting in a clean and high-quality print.
In conclusion, these are my top 5 favorite linoprinting tools. While there are many other tools and materials available, these are the ones that have served me well over the years. I encourage you to experiment with different tools and techniques to find what works best for you. Happy printing!