MLK Dream Print

As mentioned in my previous post, I've started working on block prints, specifically linoleum cuts, or linocuts for short. Here is a look at the process I used to create the Dream print. It takes a bit more than a photo, all together the print probably took 5+ hours over a week.

First, you need a source image, in this case I'm using an illustration created by Gil Garcia which he graciously released under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license. I painted my block of linoleum black with india ink and then traced the image reversed onto the block using white graphite paper to transfer.

Image Transferred

Once the source image is in place then it comes to carefully carving the image. This is the most time consuming part, I've found the key is just to take it slow and methodically work through the block. I carved it over several sessions, it can actually be relaxing put on a little music and carve away.


After the image is carved, I went through a series of refinements. I would make a proof print, see what areas need more carving and refine and repeat. I've noticed I don't carve away enough my first time, though I suppose its better since you can always cut out more.

When the final cut has been made, it is time to print. I don't have a fancy press or even a non-fancy press, all the printing is by hand. The process is straight-forward, roll ink on, place the paper, and then burnish away to transfer the image. It's surprising how much burnishing is required, probably the most tiring part.

Work Bench

Afterwards though, you end up with a nice set of prints; a time consuming, but rewarding process.