Laura Boswell ARE – Printmaker

Step by step guide to creating a lino reduction print

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During the COVID-19 pandemic while so many people are stuck at home I thought I would post a series of videos about how I make a reduction linocut print. I hope you find them useful.

Series Introduction - This introduction explains a little more.

How I go about making a 'Design drawing' for a linocut - This video looks at the way I approach designing a linocut. It is a very personal method, but it works for me.

Equipment I use to draw out my design drawing before transferring it to the lino - This video shows what I use to create the drawing prior to cutting the lino

Why I use traditional artist's lino - In this video I talk about my reasons for using traditional artist's lino rather than any of the alternatives

What I do to prepare my lino - in this video I talk about the things I do to my Lino to help me cut and to help me print.

What I think about when choosing paper - In this video I talk about the things I think about when I am choosing the paper for a print.

The way I draw trees - This video is about the way I draw trees, I might say the ways that I draw trees, because I draw in different ways depending on what I am trying to say.

My choice of ink - In this video I talk about Ink, explaining why I use the oil based inks I use and a little about some of the additives I use

Studio Tour - In one of the comments for a previous video I was asked for a studio tour - and here it is! Complete with a guest appearance from Doris: one of our cats.

Transferring the design - This video is about how I transfer my design drawing from paper onto the prepared lino. There are many way of doing this, but this method is the one that suits my way of working best.

Lino-cutting tools - This video is about the tools I use to cut lino, from a collection of inherited tools from my mother-in-law's father, to cheap and cheerful amateur tool-sets.

Tool Honing - This video is about how I keep my tools razor sharp on a day-to-day basis.

Mark making on lino - This video is about different ways that I make marks on my lino. I use a variety if methods including paint brushes, dip pens and chinagraph pencils.

Cutting lino part 1 of 3 - This is the first part of three about the way I cut lino to create my personal take on reduction linocut printing (other methods are available!)

Cutting lino part 2 of 3 - This is the second part of three about the way I cut lino to create my personal take on reduction linocut printing (other methods are available!)

Cutting lino part 3 of 3 - This is the final part of three about the way I cut lino to create my personal take on reduction linocut printing (other methods are available!)

Printing ink extender - In this video I talk about extender, a colourless printing medium used to make ink less opaque.

Ink rollers - in this video I look at the range of rollers I use and explain the differences between the different types.

How I get registration on the press - In this video I introduce my big Victorian printing press and talk about the way that I get accurate registration for the multi-layered reduction linocut prints that I do.

Table top registration device - In this video I talk about the registration device that I sell: how it works and some of the tricks and hacks you can employ to get the most out of it.
If you want to get one then they are available at my website:

The thinking behind the print - In this video I talk about some of the things I think about when designing a print, both practical and aesthetic.

Dealing with the deckle - Really nice paper often has a lovely rough edge that comes from the frame in which the paper is made, called a deckle. It looks great, but it presents a few challenges when printing and in this video I talk about how I have overcome these

The first layer of ink - In this video I finally get around to putting some ink on the paper. this may look a little alien to some linocut printers, but the super fine, faint layer that will be the background of the sky barely shows at this stage.

Adding a graduation to the sky - In this video I will be adding a graduation to the sky that I printed yesterday. Inspired by my time learning Japanese woodblock printing, the method I use is related to 'Rainbow rolling' but is something I have adapted to suit my style.

Painting a cloud - This video shows how unpredictable the process can be. I am painting onto the lino with white watercolour to create a brushwork cloud in my sky which I will then cut around.

Cutting a fine cloud - Yesterday's surprise success in painting a pleasing cloud left me with some fiddly cutting to do, so this video shows a little of that and I talk more about tools and methods

Mixing ink for an extended cloud - In this video I talk about the ink I am mixing for the delicate cloud I am going to put into the sky in my print

Adding an opaque graduation to the cloud - It may sound a little mad, but this video shows me adding a white graduated layer to my white cloud. The important element of the process is the opacity of the layers, to create depth in the finished print.

A layer of white - My prints are often built up with many layers of ink, in this video I talk about why I do this and also answer a few viewer questions about editions that have variations

Manipulating pressure - When printing, wether with a press or hand burnishing it is important to think about the pressure you exert. In this video I talk about the different things that I think about when I am deciding how much pressure to use.

More cutting and some questions - Having printed a white layer on the far hill of my print I now need to cut some areas away from the lino to create the finer, shadow detail to make the print look like a hill rather than a white blob. I'll also be answering a few more questions I've had about process.

Leaving inks overnight - Today, in answer to a question from a viewer I am talking about leaving inks overnight to continue in the morning. I should point out that this is specifically about using traditional, oil-based relief printing inks. For other types of ink the answer would be very different.

Inking the blue hills - In this video I talk about the additional layers I am adding to the hils in my print. This is to create texture and depth in the finished picture.

Cleaning up my ink - Today, in answer to another question from viewers, I am talking about cleaning up my inks at the end of using them. I should point out that this is specifically about using traditional, oil-based relief printing inks, though I do refer to Safewash ink. For other types of ink the answer would be very different.

Inking wet on wet and in different colours in a single layer - I show in this video the way I approach inking a layer, in this case there are 3 elements to the layer, a very pale shadow, a second layer of white on the tree and then, wet over wet, a slightly darker shadow defining the further hill.

Mixing inks for the tree - In this video I talk about the way I mix inks: my personal views on how to get grey and a bit about the use of colour saturation in depicting distance.

Sharpening hardware - Well this is not strictly about my current print, but I need to keep my tools sharp and this is an overview of some of the equipment that I use to do that. The next video shows how I use the Diamond Stones and the wetstone which are my favoured tools

Sharpening your cutting tools - This video shows how I keep my tools sharp. I do not profess to being an expert, but I can get my tools sharp enough for what I do, and that's reall all that any of us need to be able to do!

Painting and cutting the tree trunk - As my print nears completion the emphasis changes to adding the kind of detail that will create depth and realism, even if there is no real intention of trying to be 'realistic' per-se, but it does have to 'read'. this film shows how I add these details.

Cutting and printing the penultimate layer - Following on from my work on the tree trunk this video is specifically about creating distance by manipulating contrast, using brighter whites and darker greys in the foreground and softer versions in the background,

Self Isolation the final details - Having said that I had finished the hills I changed my mind and decided that I needed just one more layer of detail to achieve the look I was after. In this video I am cutting into the meagre remains of my lino, now almost all gone, to put a few shadows into the landscape. At the end there is a teaser of the final printing layer, but to see the result you will have to watch my next video!

The big reveal - Well, after 42 films I have finally got a finished print to show for my efforts. Don't imagine that it always happens like this, without the distraction of filming I would have arrived at this point after about a week of dedicated work, but it has been great fun doing this. I will be live-streaming from my studio between 8pm and 9pm on Friday 8th May to answer questions.

Fundraiser to keep making videos - Enjoyed #linowithlaura? We’d love to make some more printmaking tutorials and have more live-streaming - but we need a bit of help from you. If you’d like to say thanks for our recent films and help us to fund more, including a Japanese woodblock series, please chip in with a donation

Isolation, interruption by Doris -

Well, this video shows an extra challenge that we had during the filming: the constant 'photo-bombing' from our mischievous little cat Doris, who, in her lust for affection and attention would visit us in the studio.

Thank you all so much for watching, it has been a fun ride!

We would really like to carry on making these films and we will, but we could really do with some help. The production takes time and money so if you have enjoyed watching please donate at

Framing the print - I made the print and then I got quite a few questions about how we frame a print like this, with the deckle edge. For this video Ben and I have changed places, I'm doing the filming and Ben is framing the print: floating in a 'box frame'. We thought about doing this as as a tightly edited film, just showing a tiny bit of each process, but instead we decided to show the process in full. it's well over 50 minutes, so you may want to watch it in a couple of sections, but Ben and I chat about methods and materials along the way so it may be interesting...