Recent graduate, Dan Howden has been working with linocut prints since his foundation course before university. He uses a combination of traditional methods and his own way of working, which he says can be a challenging process.
The various buildings and points of interest around London that Dan has chosen for one of his more recent series of prints are the perfect way to highlight the skill he has developed for working in this medium.
The straight lines and architectural details accent the sectional printing technique that he uses, creating dramatic contrasts between different areas and colours.
He talks to us about working in this way, a form of printing that is as risky and demanding as it is great at achieving beautiful results.
I graduated from Liverpool John Moores in July studying Graphic Design & Illustration. My work comprises almost entirely of linocut and therefore I consider myself a printmaker, first and foremost.
I’ve been printing for 4 years now having begun back in 2011 whilst studying foundation at York College. It was there that I was introduced to the medium, but it was only during my second year of University in 2013 that I began to feel confident using it.
Whilst at college, I taught myself how to etch and print and because of this, my technique is fairly unorthodox.
At that time, I didn’t have the knowledge of, or access to, the best materials, and subsequently had to make do with cheap primary school-standard inks, a glass chopping board that my mum leant me and a couple of old wooden 2” rollers. I distinctly remember stealing small slabs of lino from their supply closet to take home and practise on.
My process has hardly changed since then, in fact, I still use the exact same materials to this day, with the exception of a Platen Relief Press that I was able to acquire due to a generous bursary that I received during the closing stages of uni.
The equipment I use is, in terms of printmaking, inexpensive, and it’s because of this, that I strongly believe materials aren’t the most important aspect of the process. The idea and, even more importantly, the execution of that idea is.
In terms of my own practice, I love to use the reduction technique.
The only downside being that the linoleum is ultimately destroyed by the end of it, so editions tend to be minimal and precious. Ensuring I produce sufficient quantities of editions has been the bane of my process for the past year since I’ve become more commercially inclined.
Certain prints can begin to wane whilst others go according to plan, and it’s hard to resist mentally discarding those that aren’t going so well.
The process involves me splicing the block of Lino into jigsaw-like components, before piecing them back together to form the final image. It’s a time-consuming and sometimes tedious method, but it’s the way I prefer.
© Dan Howden, 2015