Frank Bingley, Pelican Place, linocut

Frank Bingley, Pelican Place, linoprint, 30 x 21cm

The following article by Frank Bingley appears in PAINTERS ONLINE the online magazine for The Artist magazine-  'For the love of Linocut' -

"Lino printing for me is a fascinating hobby and a pleasurable way to spend my retirement years," says Frank. "After watching a programme on TV about pelicans, I developed an idea in my head about creating a print based around some of these birds."

For this project Frank Bingley chose to do a mono colour print.


Frank Bingley, Pelican Place sketch

Frank Bingley, Pelican Place', sketch


I initially sketched a few pelicans in different poses, then built up the sketch by adding a suitable environment in the form of a river scene with rushes and flora, along with some mountains in the background. The resulting sketch is totally made up, so may not be an entirely correct environment.

The sketch was a little bigger than A4 and done on 50gsm mark-up paper.


Once I was happy, the next task was to get the sketch transferred to lino.

To achieve this, I used a 9B graphite stick to build up a thin layer of graphite on the back of the sketch and affixed this to the top of the lino securely. I then traced over the sketch so that it left a faint image on the lino.

The final stage of transfer involved removing the paper and going over my graphite lines on the lino with a fine indelible ink pen.

For this print I used Japanese Lino, which has synthetic green layer on black body. It’s a bit harder to cut than the natural grey lino that I normally use, but it’s possible to carve a more detailed image with it.

Note:  It's not entirely necessary to use an indelible pen when doing a mono colour print, but good practice, as it is absolutely necessary when doing reduction prints, as cleaning the lino between colours can wear away the lines.

Frank Bingley, Pelican Place lino block



Now comes the equally interesting and scary bit of actually carving the lino.

You have to have your wits about you all the time, as it's easy to get carried away and carve away parts that you want to keep! It also takes a lot of planning too, especially when two dark areas or two light areas meet or overlap.

There are several ways around this, one is to leave a thin line between the two areas. Another method that can give surprisingly good and with stylish results, is to change from negative to positive where the two areas meet.

Another problem with a mono colour print is that, with one colour, there are no mid tones. There are a number of ways around this too, the most common being hatching or cross hatching, which, at a distance tricks the eye into perceiving a mid tone. This can be fine for shapes that don't have much form to them, but to give the illusion of form, cutting adjacent lines in the direction or plane of the form, can give the illusion of shape. Also, the spacing and width of cut lines can differentiate between different tones - narrow lines wider apart give a darker tone, whereas thick lines closer together give the impression of a lighter tone.

Note: Any number of prints can be made from the carving, unless you are doing a limited run.

Frank Bingley, Pelican Place, print

Frank Bingley, Pelican Place, linoprint

The final task is to print the work, which for me is the most exciting and rewarding part of making a linocut print.

With printing in one colour, there is no worry about registration. It's just a case of inking the lino with a brayer (or roller) and placing a sheet of paper over the top, then burnishing or rubbing over the paper with a large metal spoon, unless you are fortunate enough to own a press!

Note: Even when using one colour, the look of the print can appear quite different with different coloured inks or different coloured papers or different types of paper - it's worth experimenting a bit.

As you can see above, in one example I’ve used a deep blue on a smooth white paper, while in the other, I’ve used a black ink on a smooth buff paper.

Both instances give a print that's easier on the eye than say a black on white image.

The full article and links to other paintings and printmaking demonstrations appears here -