Hibiscus Block Print
Prep: Tear paper to 11" x 14". Cut one, 12" x 12" piece of transfer paper. Tape 12" x 16" palette paper sheets to your work surface. Print design templates. Place nibs in linoleum cutter holders and tighten.
1. Place transfer paper graphite-side-down on the linoleum block, then add the printed design line-art-side-up on top of the transfer paper and tape it in place. Use a pencil to trace over the line art and transfer it onto the block.
2. Carve the design with a linoleum cutter. Start by drawing a 1" border around the design, and use the largest gouge to carve away the block. Use a finer point gouge to carve around the edges of the design. Use fine point gouges to carve detail lines. Carve until white shows — gray areas will print and white areas will not.
3. Use the slicing gouge to cut away areas at line designations that will be inked with different colors.
4. Apply a quarter-sized amount of ink to palette paper. If desired, mix ink with an extender to maintain its viscosity or a retarder medium to slow the ink’s drying time. Roll the brayer into the ink evenly back and forth until you hear a “Velcro” sound. For individual colors, ink the carved blocks separately using brayers in different sizes. To create a color gradient, roll the brayer into both colors on opposite sides, evenly. Roll ink onto the blocks in desired area. Reassemble jigsaw pieces if needed.
5. Test print to make sure block is printing as desired. Register one element at a time using “bumpers” to remember where pieces should go. Place paper on top of carved and inked design. Apply pressure evenly, using a baren in an ironing motion until ink is transferred. Apply significant pressure. Place second element, register, and repeat.
6. Print final design on Mulberry Paper. Clean blocks and brayers with water.