A crop of Ashley Bryan's art from Walk Together Children. Click through to enlarge.
Linocuts use engraved linoleum blocks to print with ink.
Linocut also called linoleum cut, is a type of print made from a sheet of linoleum into which a design has been cut in relief. This process of printmaking is similar to woodcut but since linoleum lacks a grain, linocuts can yield a greater variety of effects than woodcuts can.
Linocut designs can be cut in large masses, engraved to give supple white lines, or worked in numerous ways to achieve many different textures. The ease with which linoleum is worked makes it admirably suited to large decorative prints, using broad areas of flat color. After Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse used the technique to advantage in the 1950s, for powerful graphic posters, many other artists adopted this medium.
Linocut was a popular children’s book illustration medium in the 1940s-1960s, as it was part of the preseperated printing process common for children's book making.
Marcia Brown: Dick Whittington and His Cats
Marcia Brown used linoleum cuts, which are well-suited to the sturdy, robust quality of this old English folk tale. The lino cuts were printed with golden color ed ink, adding depth, life, and humor to the illustrations, which was awarded the Caldecott Honor Award in 1950.
Ashley Bryan: Walk Together Children
In the spirit of medieval early block printed books, Ashley Bryan made linoleum cuts for the illustrations, titles and musical notations (noted in the introduction to volume two, I’m Going to Sing). A Maine Masters video showing a little of his printing technique.
Margaret Chodos-Irvine: My House is Singing
To create her illustrations, Margaret Chodos-Irvine transfered color from one surface to another, building the images up gradually from flat layers of color. For her linoleum block prints (linocuts), she cuts the image into sheets of battleship linoleum, rolls ink onto the surface, and prints the image onto paper using an etching press. Images with multiple colors use multiple blocks, each printed with a separate run through the press. Her mixed media relief prints evolved from a desire to maximize color, texture, and shape. These methods included a nontraditional combination of printmaking techniques. A wide variety of materials were used to create layers of color and pattern and, similar to linocut, each block was printed by rolling ink onto its surface, then the ink was transferred onto paper using a press. Anything she could ink up and run through her press became a likely candidate for an element in one of her prints. Some of her mixed media prints also involved other printmaking techniques, such as chine colle, collography, and monotyping. She was always looking for new things to experiment with in her printing.
Kelly Dupre: The Raven’s Gift: A True Story from Greenland
Kelly researched, wrote, and illustrated her work, carving linoleum blocks which have added color using acrylic, gouache, or watercolor paints.
In this linocut for The Raven’s Gift, Dupre cut away all surfaces not to be printed, leaving the outlined images of the icebergs, the raven, and the Greenlander. Note the smooth texture of the surfaces to be inked and printed contrasting with the rough, cut away negative spaces of this lino cut.