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Lino cutting by hand is typically quite a time consuming process. Painstakingly gouging out those pre-marked areas can get a little frustrating especially at large sizes. But did you know lino cuts can also be made on the laser cutter and in a fraction of the time?

Laser engraved lino cut

Laser engraved lino cut

Artist Patrick Collier has used raster laser engraving as a method for making prints for much of his work and in some cases, it has replaced traditional print methods (including screen printing) as his favoured application. We caught up with Patrick to find out more about the key benefits of using lasers with lino and how the process has influenced his work:

“A fundamental aspect of my practice is exploring new ideas and ways of making. I began experimenting with laser engraving as an alternative method of reproducing the work I make in Adobe Illustrator.

For a long time I had screen printed my designs and although I still work with screen printing, it requires a lot of preparation, materials and equipment. By contrast, lino printing is an incredible basic process and requires far less equipment, preparation and time. Once a design is cut from lino all you need is some ink, a brayer (a roller) and something to print on.

Engraving into the lino

Engraving into the lino

Brayer

Brayer

Inked up lino block

Inked up lino block

Creating an image for laser engraving is the point where I began my use of halftone pattern fills. The reason being that I wanted to reduce each of my designs to a single part and forego the use of multiple plates or screens. This experiment has had a lasting impact on the visual style of my work. The halftone patterns I use comprise of very small dots but I’ve found it’s possible to achieve a lot of detail through printing with laser etched surfaces. The level of detail is comparable with screen printing and making laser engraved lino is also a great way for re-producing photographic images.

Hand pressed prints

Hand pressed prints

One main difference in the lino printing application comes in the way pressure is applied to make the print. Whereas screen prints are produced by forcing ink through a mesh, lino printing involves directing inking the relief surface and impressing it to paper, fabric or any other material. Lino can be printed with a press or by hand. I prefer to make my prints by hand, giving them a rougher quality.
A smoother consistent print finish is also achievable with a press.

A smoother consistent print finish is also achievable with a press.

Engraved lino details

Engraved lino details

Hand pressed print

Hand pressed print

Halftone dot details

Halftone dot details

Machine pressed print

Machine pressed print

One other main advantage is the sizes of the prints you can achieve. On a large laser bed it’s possible to engrave lino cuts up to A0 size. Doing something like this by hand would take days and on the laser it takes a lot less time. It’s also possible to print larger images in sections using a tiling effect”

See more on the raster engraving process»
See more of patricks work on Tumblr»