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?
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.
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.
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”