RESOURCES: What materials do I use?
1 January 2019
I have nearly always used soft cut lino or more recently Japanese Vinyl. When I returned to lino printing in around 2010 or so, soft cut lino was quite a new thing (I think). I instantly preferred cutting it to traditional artists hessian backed lino. I have tried lots of different varieties, but my preferred choice now is the Japanese Vinyl. It has a green layer on one side and blue layer on the other. When you cut into it, the green (or blue) is removed to reveal the grey underneath. I find this helpful as you can 'read' the lino easily. Another brilliant feature of the Japanese Vinyl is it's beautifully square edges. I got quite fed up of trying to square off other brands as they were never cut straight. I buy my Japanese Vinyl either from Intaglio Printmaker, Lawrence Art Supplies or from Handprinted.
When I began printing multi-layered work, I was using a medium weight cartridge paper. If you have tried this you will know that as the paper gets wet it starts to buckle (no pun intended - haha). I quickly realised that I needed to investigate a better quality paper to get a better finish, so I asked another artist I found online at the time who was doing multi-layered lino work (I'm sorry I would give you a mention if I could remember your name!) She recommended Somerset Satin. I have used this paper ever since. I used to buy both the 250gsm and the 300gsm weight but I only buy the 300gsm weight now, mostly because the 300gsm will take a lot more ink. I buy my Somerset paper, either from Jackson's Art or Lawrence Art Supplies.
I have only ever used water-based inks. I started out with 300ml tubes of cheap block printing ink, the likes of which you can buy from a variety of places, just google 'block printing ink'. I would recommend this type of ink to begin with, you will get a reasonable result, cheaply. After using this ink for a while however, I got frustrated trying to mix colours as it was sometimes hard to get the colour I wanted. I asked Laura Boswell to recommend a better brand of water-based ink and she recommended Schmincke. Actually she recommended two brands, but I forget the other one... perhaps it was Caligo.. I bought myself some Schmincke inks and I have not felt the need to try another brand, I am very happy with them and I have been using them for over six years now. I buy my Schmincke inks, either from Jackson's Art or Great Art. Jackson's will send it quicker (within the UK) but you might get a better price with Great Art.