A linocut is a method of “relief block printmaking”. You start by carving an image into the linoleum block using special tools with varying sized blades. You choose the blade size depending on the depth and thickness of the line you would like. Areas cut away, with the carving tool, will not pick up ink, and will remain the paper color, and the areas left in relief will pick up the ink and print black (or whatever color ink you choose).
To make a print, the surface of the carved block is inked using a rubber roller (called a brayer) then a sheet of paper is laid on top. Printing can be done using a press (a table with a roller on it), or by hand, by placing the paper face down on top of the inked lino block and rubbing with a wooden spoon, or rolling a clean brayer over the back of the paper, until the inked parts of the image are transferred evenly onto the paper. The paper is then peeled off the block and laid on a rack to dry.
There is something very tactile and satisfying in the carving and printing process. Carving is a form of therapy (much needed at times), and printing gives the thrill of anticipation as you rub the paper until it is time to peel it back to reveal the fruit of your labors, the printed image you created. Getting a perfect print takes time and patience, trial and error, but once you get a print that is worthy of keeping the satisfaction settles in.
It is a way to produce art prints that is ancient yet still relevant today. Try it, you might find a new verve 😉 in your art making!