As discussed previously – Wood Mouse and Wild Garlic: part two – I have planned a new A4 size colour linocut featuring wild garlic and a wood mouse. This will be the first of a prospective series of linocuts celebrating the gorgeous spring wild flowers I see in the woods of East Sussex.

Here you can see my printmaking process in progress for Wood Mouse and Wild Garlic.

Key block test print

The main lino block of several will be the key block, which I have carved first. Here is my test of the key block before it was completely carved:-

Wood Mouse and Wild Garlic key block early test

This seemed to be fitting in with my plans.

Colour tests in Photoshop

Sometimes as part of the printmaking process, I play around with ideas on the computer. In this case, I scanned the print and experimented in Photoshop to see what colour would do once added to the key block, and how it would look with more cut away:-

Digital colour try out
Digital experimental image checking colour possibilities against key block of linocut as part of the printmaking process.
Digital colour try out for Wood Mouse and Wild Garlic to see how it would look with a pink background.

Test prints

After carving more of the key block and some sections of the “light colour” block, I did another test print. This is pretty much the light block done, with the garlic flowers and mouse cut out:-

Two Blocks

Two blocks test print

Three Blocks

Another test with three blocks roughly completed. Now the light block is pretty much finalised and the dark green block is good and registers correctly.

Printmaking process for Wood Mouse and Wild Garlic linocut - test print with three blocks.
Test print with three blocks

Four Blocks

Here’s a test print with four blocks. The brown is very messy except on the mouse and needs much more carving. After this I experimented a bit with brown on top of some of the green leaves. I also removed more of the black – in particular the solid black leaves in the background.

Test print with four blocks

Five Blocks

And here the pink is added in a test print with all five blocks. Nearly there, but I think a bit more of the black needs to go, the brown is too much and perhaps the pink could be used in its place in a few spots. I thought a brown splodge on the big vertical leaf would add interest – but it just adds a brown splodge! I also think that small green leaf at the edge needs to go.

Printmaking process test print for Wood Mouse and Wild Garlic linocut.
Five blocks test print

I think I am over-thinking the colours because I want to make the most of the blocks. But they should be secondary to the key block. I need to keep the colours simple.

At this point it’s time to take a look at the print upside down. This is always a useful to see any artwork with fresh eyes. An even better technique is to look at a sketch or illustration in the mirror. It’s amazing what you spot when you do this. However, the linocut process is all about mirror reversal so the mirror technique is not needed.

I am now working on the final test print before the final leg of the printmaking process – printing the actual edition! I’m waiting a bit longer for each layer to dry and I’ll put it here when it’s finished.

Here it is!

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Inspirational Spring Flowers

Wood Mouse and Wild Garlic: Part One

Wood Mouse and Wild Garlic: Part Two