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WPA Collection: Graphic Arts Processes


Linoleum Block in Color - A Relief Process

 Early Cleveland by Robert Miltenberger
Linoleum Block in Color, 7 1/4" x 12 1/2"

Linoleum is an excellent medium for making color prints. Usually a key clock which carries the main design is made in the same manner as ordinary linoleum block. This block is printed and the fresh proofs are offset to the clean, untouched surface of the color blocks. The offset is used as a guide in making each color block. Various devices are used to insure each block printing in its proper relative position. This is called "registry." A usual combination is to have one black key block with a block for each of the three primary colors. In this way it is possible to have in effect nine colors to work with, black; the color of the paper or white; the three primaries, red, yellow, and blue; the secondary colors, orange, purple, and green, made by crossing the primaries and brown. It is also possible to get graduations in large open areas like a sky by working the roller gradually down across the face of the block. Of course one can have as many blocks as one wants. The Japanese sometimes had over twenty blocks for one print. In appreciating color block prints it is well to remember that with each additional block the complications increase and that a successful color block print is much more rare than a successful black and white print.

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