this is the actual linoleum block that i carved. it has been colored with a red permanent marker and a print was made on it before i took the picture.
anyone can go to an art supply store and get a linoleum block, some black printing ink, a basic carving set and some paper and do this at home. it's really pretty self explanatory although i like to be able to watch someone do it and ask questions etc... i will share a couple of unexpected things i learned to make the whole process a little easier. first, the instructor had us cover the linoleum block with a red permanent marker so that as you are carving away material from the surface of the block it is easier to see the contrast between the red and the color of the block. you can still tell what you are cutting away without coloring the surface but it's alot harder to see. the trick is that you have to use a truly permanent marker so that the color does not mingle with the ink you will roll on later. a second tip was to take a regular clothes iron and use it to heat up the surface of the block so that it is softer and easier to cut. you need to put a piece of cloth on top of the block to iron on or else you can melt the linoleum. the iron can be set on a medium temperature and you just iron until the fabric on top of your block is very warm to the touch. you can go back and keep doing this as it cools off. i'm not going to go thru the whole process but these were a couple things i woudn't have known to do by myself.
here are just a couple close-ups of the block after i had made an initial black print and then washed the block off. you can see the black stains in the crevices.
and here was my first print--this has a name and i forgot what it is called. basically you do a testing print to see if your lines are coming out like you thought they would, then you can go back in a carve anything out more if you need to.
this is my second print which was fun using a "rainbow roll" (that reminds me of sushi), where you put down a couple colors on your "pallette" and they mingle together giving that nice gradation. this one was made with red, orange and yellow. i didn't do a great job burnishing it though-there are alot of white blotches where the paper is showing through.