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Cost
$ $ $ $ $
Difficulty
• • • • •
Time
2h00

Block Print for Beginners
Creating a block print with multiple colors requires more effort in planning. There are several standard ways to create multicolored prints. In almost all cases, correctly positioning each layer through proper registration is always a key step. This project is an easy example of creating a two-color block print without going through a complicated registration process. Instead, we’ll use two separate elements that can be arranged without precise positioning. As separate elements, it’s easy to print each object in different color combinations, or swap one for another design.

Posted by Aurum Press Published See Aurum Press's 76 projects » © 2021 Young, Elise / Quarto · Reproduced with permission. · Excerpted from Block Print for Beginners by Elise Young, © 2021. Used with permission from Walter Foster Publishing, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group. Learn more at www.quartoknows.com.
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  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 1
    Step 1

    Sketch the image on a piece of drawing paper with a soft lead pencil. When making two-color or multicolored block prints, it’s important to design each element as an independent design to prevent the images from overlapping when they are printed. In this piece, I’m demonstrating the concept with a design that has one element (a cat) in the middle and a second element (bush) as the border.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 2
    Step 2

    Place the drawing paper facedown on the block and tape the top edge with masking tape. Press the bone folder against the back of the paper and apply even pressure over all the pencil lines to transfer the image to the carving block. Once the transfer is complete, trim the block to the original drawing size using a transparent ruler and a craft knife.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 3
    Step 3

    For this project, you need a second block for the center element, and you can use the remaining piece of the original linoleum if it’s large enough. Using the same transfer method, make an additional image to carve on the second block—a cat in this project.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 4
    Step 4

    Once the blocks are prepared, it’s time to carve. Start by making an outline of the image using V-shaped gouges. After finishing the initial carving, move on to the large areas with U-shaped or wider gouges.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 5
    Step 5

    For the center block, you will only use the single image, so cut out the area around the object using a craft knife, leaving some margin around the outline.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 6
    Step 6

    When you finish carving the blocks, make sure to remove any scraps or carved residue with an old paintbrush.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 7
    Step 7

    Make a printing board for registration using a blank board paper. Once you make the guidelines for the outer block, make a registration guideline for the center block.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 8
    Step 8

    Remember that the final image on your print is reversed from the original block. Therefore, place the sketch facedown on the base and transfer the center image using an embossing stylus. Don’t forget to align the bottom edge of the sketch to the guideline you created with the larger block.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 9
    Step 9

    To make the center design more visible, use a pen or pencil to trace the embossed outline on the base of the printing board.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 10
    Step 10

    Apply a small amount of ink to the inking plate and load the brayer with a thin layer of ink. Gently roll the brayer on the first block. Be careful not to miss those edges during the inking process. Place the printing paper on the block with the bottom edge lined up with the printing board. Burnish using the baren and wooden spoon, applying even pressure.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 11
    Step 11

    Gently pull the print from the block. Once you are satisfied with the test print, repeat to create the final edition to be combined with the second block.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 12
    Step 12

    Repeat to ink the second block, considering the size of your center block—you may not need much ink if the block is small. Place the inked center block on the marked area of the printing board.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 13
    Step 13

    Carefully place the border print on the top of the center block. It’s very important to carefully line up the edge of the bottom side of the print paper with the printing board. Burnish the back with the baren or wooden spoon. The baren is ideal for applying general pressure, and with the wooden spoon you can apply more refined, detailed pressure to achieve the precise shapes of each line.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 14
    Step 14

    Gently pull the print from the block with both hands, ensuring the center block stays in position.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Two Color Block Print - Step 15
    Step 15

    If you are satisfied with the result, let the print dry. It’s an interesting experiment to use contrasting colors—feel free to explore various color combinations until you find your favorite.

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Sara B.
Sara B. · Bristol, England, GB
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