What is a reduction screenprint?

[Rant warning! Who came up with the concept that all competition is good for the customer? For years we’ve had a bus down our road every half an hour. Last week a new bus started, also every half hour. If we lived in a world of sensible co-operation, we would now have a bus every quarter of an hour. Do we? No chance! The new bus is scheduled for five minutes before the old bus so as to pinch all the passengers, so two buses within five minutes and twenty five minutes until the next one. It’s called competition! And the convenience for the passengers? End of rant! Back to posting art stuff.]

I’ve been screenprinting today at Hot Bed Press with Sam videoing the proceedings. You probably know about reduction lino-cuts. Here, a few marks are cut from the lino-block which is then printed in a light colour, the cut parts being white. More is then cut from the same block before printing in a darker colour. The parts cut out the second time being the first pale colour. A multicoloured print is thus built up using just one block. I have heard it called suicide printing since if you make a mistake in the later stages, there is nothing you can do about it because you can’t redo the earlier stages.

I found this example of a linocut print on the internet. The pale green was printed first. Most of the sky was cut out before printing the aqua. The sea was cut out before printing the blue and so on. A five colour (plus white) print has been produced from a single lino block.

(Update on 7th May: I’ve just discovered a blog which shows the production of a reduction linoprint produced by Drew Kail.)

Today I’ve been trying a similar technique using a screen. I had put an image of a derelict factory on the screen which I printed in a gold (the scan doesn’t look very gold, I know!)

After cleaning the screen in situ, I then brushed screen filler across the screen with a toothbrush then reprinted with a tan. Where the screen filler had blocked the screen the print remained gold.

More screen filler with the toothbrush before printing with chocolate.

Finally after a lot more filler – I didn’t want too much dark brown – the fourth and final colour. A four colour screenprint from just one screen.

I felt the technique lent itself to “dereliction”. On my website I have two prints done by the same method of a hobo from Greenwich Village, New York. Jen who prints animals is thinking of using it to get the effect of animal fur.

  Sam and I are now working on the video with the intention of posting it up to youtube. I’ll keep you informed.

About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
This entry was posted in linocut, Print, Printmaking, screenprinting, Techniques and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to What is a reduction screenprint?

  1. was great fun filming and editing this! video should be finished and youtubed sometime in the near future!

  2. settleandchase says:

    These look great – I really like this idea and was wanting to do the same with one of my photographs – can I ask where you had the image put onto the screen, or did you do it yourself? Really enjoying your blog btw! 🙂

    • I print at Hot Bed Press in Salford. We have a dark room so I can coat and expose the screen myself. Where are you based? I may be able to suggest an open access print studio near you where you might be able to produce a suitable screen.

      • settleandchase says:

        Ah ok, I wasn’t sure how complex a process it was..I’d like to do it with this image


        Do you think something like this might work? (Hope you don’t mind me asking you these questions!)

        I’m based in Exeter – I think we have an open access studio at the arts centre..

        • My only hesitation about this image is there is a lot of light area – which would stay light – and only a little dark area – which would be the part printed. I’ll try and find out about studios in Exeter tomorrow (Star Wars Day – May the 4th Be With You!)

  3. settleandchase says:

    hehe I like it…:) that’s really kind of you thankyou – yes I see what you mean about the image, interesting..will have to think about it..

  4. clinock says:

    From an artist who has always had miserable results making prints – thank you for your explanation of the process…

  5. what an excellent idea.

  6. Leanne Cole says:

    I visited your blog through a photography link, and here I discover you are a printmaker, my degree is in printmaking, but I’ve gone back to photography. Things going around and around.

    • I was a member of a photographic society until recently but they seemed to be only interested in competitions. Nowadays I take photographs which can be used to make screen prints. Not the same type of photography at all.

      • Leanne Cole says:

        I was a member of one those once too and left for exactly the same reasons. I completely understand why you take photos. I’m still trying to work it out for me. Nice to meet you.

  7. Pingback: Two Award Nominations. Thank you! | notes to the milkman

  8. Pingback: A New Reduction Print | notes to the milkman

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