I have always loved prints. Every kind of printmaking! I thought that I would love to try. But where to start? I don't have a huge studio, no space for professional tools etc. That's why I have chosen linocut which is perfect for small spaces and which is really fascinating technique.
Today I will tell you where to start. What you need for the first steps and also give you some tips. I'm not a huge expert, only a few prints in my drawer but with gaining my experience I will write and share more with you.
There is a lot of materials which probably you will find useful in the future but for now you will need only a few things.
Cutting tool – you can find lino cutting sets or high quality linocut tools at shops. Of course for the start buy a cheap handle (plastic or wooden) with replaceable blades. They are good for learning and you will have an opportunity to get used to the different types of blades.
Never throw your blades together because you can damage them.
Lino block – you can buy linoleum in various sizes and thickness. You can buy bigger sheets and then cut them or buy small sizes. It really depends what you want the lino for.
At the shops you will also find SoftCut. The carving material is very smooth and easy to cut. Cleaning the SoftCut sheet is easier then traditional linoleum. It can be washed under a tap after use.
Roller – there are various sizes but for the start and not a big prints you won't need a huge one.
Printing ink – there are two kinds of printing ink: water-based and oil-based. I have chosen water-based for the start because they are easy to clean (using only water) and are safe to use. You will find that there are a lot of different brands of printmaking ink and prices also vary. When buying the inks for linocut always buy ink for relief printing NOT etching inks.
I bought a big tube of cheap ink for learning and smaller one which is more expensive to more advanced prints and of course to see a difference between the two of them. I bought only two colours black and red for the start (I didn't know if printmaking would be for me ;)).
When buying the inks for the first time I think it's enough to buy only a few colours, black and some of the primary colours (you can always mixed them). But for simple print you will need only one colour!
If you use oil-used inks remember to use gloves or special cream for protection. Also you will need a good ventilation. Don't confine yourself in a small room with a lot of oil-based ink ;)
If you are a messy person wear an apron.
Paper – for the start you can use whatever paper you want but I recommend cartridge paper (huge amount for only a few quid). First prints won't be perfect, don't waste you best paper. Remember to use a smooth paper for prints.
A tool for burnishing – you can find a special tool (baren) for that or you can use your hand but I have chosen a wooden spoon. Yes! I took the one from my kitchen drawer ;)
A surface for inking – I use a sheet of glass which I took from a picture frame. Easy to use and to clean. Put something under the glass if your desk is smooth, you don't want to hear this squicky sound when glass in moving when you ink your roller ;)
I hope I have helped you a little with choices and I hope to see your first prints soon!