3.2 Experimental mark making on lino

The aim of the project is to discover new ways of creating cuts, marks and textures on lino and to extend the range of expressive opportunities available.

Key words from the brief:

  • Make a test lino block
  • Mark out squares on your lino with a pencil and fill each square with a different texture


I selected a number of tools and or implements on the basis of their ability to make a mark in the lino block.

Tools used

I marked out the lino block into squares and used the selected tools to scratch, carve, gouge and chisel a variety of marks into the lino block.

Lino cut
A picture of the cleaned-up lino cut following printing giving the best indication of the range and variety of marks – lino block size: 25cm x 30cm.

I printed the cut lino block with limited success.

Experimental lino print 02
Print 01 – lighter inking showing more detail
Experimental lino print 01
Print 02 – with more ink and less fine detail transferred


How did your test plate print?

Quite poorly. Much of the subtle shallow marks didn’t transfer at all. The print with lighter inking was more successful.

Can you recognise the marks made by the different tools?

Some of the marks on the prints are identifiable although it’s much more obvious to make a match by looking at the cut lino block which shows more detail.

If some of your effects did not print can you identify why?

There were a number of challenges that reduced the level of detail in the prints:

  1. Some of the marks were too shallow and filled with ink during the print process so were lost when the ink was transferred to the paper. This is why more detail was successfully transferred on the more lightly inked print.
  2. I used a hammer to emboss shapes into the lino. This made good marks but had the unfortunate side effect of bowing the lino block. This meant when it came to printing, I was taking a print from an uneven bowed surface, and this further decreased the level of detail that was transferred to the paper.
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