Making the Fox in the Snow Linocut Print

Making the fox linocut was one of the most enjoyable and challenging prints I've made so far. Because it's a multiple colour print, it's made of three separate carved plates that have to be inked with different colours and all lined up properly!

 The three fox linocut blocks and my favourite Pfeil tools.

The three fox linocut blocks and my favourite Pfeil tools.

I started by drawing the fox. Because it was so cold on the days I was drawing him and I was dreaming of a trip to the outdoors, had the idea of putting him in a snowy scene of silver birches and I'm really glad I did, as I think the background in the subtle shades of grey really adds to him and lets him take centre stage. 

Once I'd finished the drawing I took one sheet of tracing paper for each colour I wanted to use. This meant I traced the fox on one sheet, the lighter parts of the tree on another and finally the details of the fox's face and the dark parts of the trees onto the third. Once the images were transferred to the lino with carbon copy paper, the carving began. I think it must have taken me about 3 or 4 whole days of very careful carving to get all the details cut out . When the carving was finished I experimented with the contrast of the greys for the trees and the orange of the fox until I found my favourite combination. After that I printed them layer by layer, waiting for a week or two for the layers to dry before moving on to the next. I had to wait until a month or so after the initial carving when the previous layers had all dried to discover if the final print block lined up with the rest of the print, thankfully it all registered correctly and I was very relieved.