Reduction Printing – pushing the boundaries with Lino

Picasso reduction print 1962 Bust of a woman with a hat
Picasso reduction print 1962
Bust of a woman with a hat

Here is a marvellous five colour print made from just one piece of Lino by my favourite artist Picasso.

And you can use the same technique at home to produce a four or five colour design from one piece of lino. You can produce several copies but the work is altered after each colour is printed. It is such a fun project and I will describe what I did in case you feel like having a go. You print each colour and then cut the lino some more so that by the end you just have a little bit left with which to print the final colour. You cannot then go back and produce it again, meaning uniqueness is guaranteed. No problem for Picassso who produced at least one art work each day.

Piece of lino used in a reduction print, most colours cut away
Ready for the final colour (dark brown)

I drew a picture of a girl with a bob hairstyle, wearing a collared, striped top. She sits inside a room with a window, patterned wallpaper, a dado rail and a lamp. The picture is composed of white, yellow, green, red and dark brown, in that order. The white bits are carved out of the lino and it is printed with yellow ink. Then the bits that are to remain yellow are cut away and the green ink is used.

Second printing, green on top of the yellow
Second printing, green on top of the yellow

Then the areas that are to remain green are cut away and the red printing ink is applied.

The red ink is applied to produce a three colour image
The red ink is applied to produce a three colour image

By now most of the lino is cut away to leave the small piece (shown above) which is used to print on the final colour, in this case a dark brown.

Reduction print of girl in four colours by Kate Davies
The lino print with yellow, green, red and dark brown

I also did one without the red, just to see what would happen.

Reduction print in Lino of a young woman
Reduction print without the red

I used the print on T-shirts for myself and the grandchildren.

White T shirt with reduction print  on it worn by Kate Davies
The reduction print T-shirt

I am taking part in Marilla Walker’s Hand Printed Fabric Swap, and am very pleased I have been partnered with Amandine from Brighton who has a blog. She is French and works in a school. She has thick red hair so I am looking forward to developing a colour palette for her and then using it to create 1m of fabric that she can make into something.

6 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    I love this. I did some lino printing in art class many many years ago and I mostly cut myself by accident on multiple occasions as the carving tool slipped into my thumb! I will definitely give this a go when I have some free time in September after my vacation. This is so well done. Your work is very impressive. Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephanie

      PS I love Picasso too. I also really love Vuillard, as he often painted the details of many-patterned interiors into his paintings. This makes me think a little bit of his works.

  2. fleurdecarotte

    Waow! You are very talented, and I have to say I am impressed. I do think that lino is great for proper ‘art work’ which I haven’t really tried yet. I prefer rubber blocks when it comes to printing a repeat pattern. Thanks for talking about me ; )

  3. Joyce

    Absolutely love your design! You and the grandchildren will look adorable in your “Kate Originals” My head spins at the price they would put on those in an art gallery gift shop.
    I too am a Picasso fan and am often inspired by his work (and yours). I have done some print making , lino and etchings. — and I also remember transferring a drawing my daughter did of me in grade one (and all) on to a sweat shirt with that bubbly fabric paint that comes in a bottle. It was a big hit whenever I wore it, and I loved to wear it.
    Anyhow, its all very exciting and I can’t wait to see what design you receive and what you will make with it.

  4. Carolyn

    Wow! Your printing looks just fantastic!! I’ve done a little bit of screen-printing myself so I can appreciate the beautiful placement you have achieved. And I LOVE the colours too 🙂

  5. Brenda Marks

    Wow! I’ve never done this, so thanks for the explanation. I hope as I read forward, I’ll see the results. I am enjoying this process of reading through. I don’t have to wait a week to see what happens!

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