The technique of color prints on paper and other materials has been known for a very long time. In India, China, color printing was used to decorate fabrics. The signet was cut out on a tree. In Europe, in the fourteenth century, books and individual engraved sheets began to decorate with color prints. At the beginning of the XVI century, artists from Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands began to work in this technique. We are aware of high-level Chinese color prints of the 17th century. Early European engravings are made in 2-3 colors with a predominance of black contour. In Italian engravings, the outline black color is printed in places of shadow. Japanese color engraving appeared later and was more decorative, made in 2-3 boards and had a black outline, individual engravings were done in technique and up to 12 boards. The main differences between the styles of European and Asian engravings are that the European color engraving created the impression of relief and the illusion of three-dimensional reality.
Italian color engraving (grisailles) imitates a sculptural bas-relief. Oriental engraving is more decorative, color is more important for it than light and shadows. For color printing, copper boards and special hardwood were used. At the beginning of the XIX century, many artists began to use a new material: cork linoleum, which cover the floors. The engraving on linoleum is similar in design and printing to the cut engraving on a wooden board but has a significant advantage: you can cut an engraving of large size, since the material is cheap and is sold in building materials stores. Before grinding, a piece of linoleum should be carefully examined from the reverse side, and if nodules are found on the fabric, they must be carefully cut. Linoleum is laid on a flat, smooth surface and kerosene is added to it and polished with a pumice with a flat plane or an emery medium-grained skin, then finally brought fine-grained to a smooth surface. Grinding is carried out first in one direction, and then perpendicular to it. Paint is well rolled on a carefully polished surface and this determines the quality of the print. Color linocut we call prints printed in two or more colors.
Color engraving can be done in many ways. The first way is that color engraving is printed from one board. It is necessary to apply one paint after another to the cut engraving of one board and print each of them separately. This method is longer, and makes it possible to get a color print, while it is not always possible to get the same prints. The second way, when a color graphic sketch of an ex libris or print is printed in several boards. When printing with transparent printing inks and applying one color to another, new additional colors are obtained. For example, superimposing red on yellow or vice versa, we get orange, blue with yellow – green, red with blue – purple, etc.
You can print color linocuts in various color combinations and get prints with amazing color effects. To improve performance, the surface of brown linoleum is covered with white acrylic paint “snow”, used to paint the walls. The pattern printed on the printer translates well onto a white surface. The drawing is wetted with acetone and rubbed with a bone on linoleum and get a high-quality image, which makes it possible to clearly work with incisors. We cut several pieces of linoleum equal to each other in size of the prepared sketch.
We take tracing paper and apply a black contour drawing from the sketch and translate it into linoleum in the “mirror” image and draw black ink with a pen or brush. The first engraving is a black linoleum board that conveys a sketch drawing. Such a board is called a contour. We cut the engraving into a roller with black paint and put it in a special device for printing. Using sturdy, smooth cardboard and fixture can be made. The small frame for the board is linoleum, and the two corners form a large frame for cut paper. The white field around the engraved bookplate is -2 cm and for print 3 – 4 depending on the size of the image. A printed black print is transferred to the remaining pieces of linoleum. We take a prepared clean piece of linoleum and put it in a small frame, and insert the newly printed contour print into a large frame and transfer it to linoleum under pressure. In this way, the outline drawing is printed on other clean boards, and each color of the color sketch is transferred to them using tracing paper. Each color is cut out on a separate piece and printed sequentially on a piece of paper. I draw your attention, pieces of linoleum must be exactly the same size. In order to have a qualitative coincidence of colors, any color that comes in contact with black increases by 1 – 2 mm more. This will allow you to combine colors well and get a high-quality color print.