Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Linocut is a variant of woodcut, in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A pattern is carved into the linoleum, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reflection of the design to be printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.
As the material being carved has no particular direction to its grain and does not tend to split, it is easier to obtain certain artistic effects than with most woods, although the resultant prints lack the wood character of wood block printing. Linoleum is also much easier to cut than wood, but the pressure of the printing process degrades the plate faster. Also it's hard to do really big pieces because the material is somewhat fragile.
Due to ease of use, linocut is widely used at schools to introduce children to the art of printing. Also non-professional artists tend to use linocut rather than woodcut. But it was and is also widely used by professional artists, for similar reasons.
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