I’m working on a whole series of prints based on William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. I’ve finished “The cut worm thanks the plow,” and am now working on “The crow wish’d every thing was black; the owl that every thing was white.”

The most difficult part of these prints, for me, is the text. I am not a good hand-letterer, so am transferring type set on my computer onto the linoleum block. After choosing font, font size, and layout, I print out the text and take it to a copy center to make a xerox. Laser ink will not transfer the way a xerox copy will.

Here’s the partially-carved block with the text areas marked out, and the xerox of the text.
The text and block are ready.

Then I cut out the text and lined it up square to the block, and taped it in place.
The text and block are really ready now.

Using a blender marker, I go over the text area to lift the ink off the paper.
Using the blending marker.

And then rub it with a pencil; this is what actually transfers the lifted ink on to the block. Any somewhat pointed tool would work. I happen to like using a pencil, since it lets me see what areas I’ve transferred.
Transferring the ink by rubbing.

And voila! The text is transferred and ready for carving. I’ll do a little more prep work before carving, such as ruling top and bottom lines around the text to make sure I keep it somewhat even, and darkening any transfer areas that are light or difficult to see.
The text is transferred and ready to cut.

The print will be a two-color reduction print, and the text will be white against blue in the top area, and black against white in the bottom section.

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