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In my work, I often combine the reduction method with multiple plates. After the detailed sketch is done, I analyze it carefully to decide in what order the colors are going to be applied. I prefer to work from light to dark.
Here are step-by-step photos taken during the printing of my multicolored linocut "August". Carved from unmounted Grey battleship linoleum. The image size 12"x16". Printed on Rising Stonehenge paper with Daniel Smith oil-based printing ink.
1. The drawing was transferred to the linoleum plate which serves as a "key block". Its main purpose was to establish outlines for printing separate plates. I started with carving away all areas of white and those where I planned to print separate plates. The key block was printed in pale blue-grey ink. When combining multiple plates with the reduction method, I use two types of registration: pins and holes for the key block (reduction) and white areas/outlines for separate plates.
After the first layer of ink dried, I carved separate plates for sunflowers and printed them in bright yellow.
Then I printed separate plates for sunflowers' stems in green.
Another plate was printed in tan over the white space left for the woman's face and arms.
The key block was carved and the areas which were supposed to be left grey were carved away. I also cut away the upper right corner of the key block to print it as a separate block in dark blue later on. After these modifications were done, the key block was printed as a gradient (also called the rainbow inking) of pale olive green and somewhat darker olive green.
The upper part of the key block was printed on the left to become the blue wall behind the flowers. A plate for the blue dress was cut separately but printed on the same run.
Multiple plates (the chairs, sunflowers' disks, the hair, the knife's handle) were printed in different shades of brown.
Two plates were printed in green. The plate for the table was cut from the key block, and the small element for the chair seat was cut separately.
At last, a few elements were printed in dark green. The plate for the shadows on the table was cut from the key block and two plates outlining the flowers were cut separately. The last layer completed the linocut.