Now that the design has been transferred to the printing tile it is time to start cutting.
Step 4: Cutting the first layer.
Using the long blade chisels for Lino and wood cutting start cutting your image into the Lino. When cutting the first layer, only remove the areas that you want to stay completely blank (white or whatever colour your paper is) when you print the first layer. Everything else must be left as is. Use the image that you transferred to the Lino as a guide, along with your sketches, to help you decide what to cut and what to leave. If you don’t want a white background then print the background colour before making the first cut.
Next prepare your ink. Start with the palest colour in your image. For the robin this is a yellowish peach. On a flat surface ( I use safety glass, from the inside of a fridge ) take a small amount of ink and roll it out so that it is evenly spread. Then with the same roller transfer the ink on to the Lino plate so it is covered in a thin and even layer.
Now firmly place the Lino face down on to the paper you want to print on. To transfer the ink evenly onto the paper I use a printing press, but you could also place a piece of felt on the back of the tile and run a rolling-pin over the top applying as much pressure as possible. Before you lift the Lino from the paper mark the position of the four corners with a pencil. This will help with registration when printing the subsequent layers.
Gently lift the Lino from the paper to reveal the first printed layer of the image. Place it somewhere safe to dry the ink. I hang mine from a clothes line in my studio/shed.
If you want more than one copy of the image now is the time to repeat the printing process. Once the second cut is made there is no going back!
And now we wait. The first layer needs to be dry before the second layer gets printed.