Posted by: bluelanternstudio | January 26, 2012

Making an owl print

Years ago I created a series of linocuts that were very simple (really just line drawings carved into soft rubber). I’ve long admired more complex designs, especially ones that incorporate multiple colours. These designs require careful planning, and carving and printing multiple images in layers. Daunting, to say the least.

Earlier this month, though, I was inspired by a print of a hot air balloon shown to me by a friend. I decided the time had come to set aside my anxieties and give it a try. Further inspired by the imagery I’ve been working with in my paintings, I decided to create a print of a barred owl.

The first step was to draw the image in my sketchbook, trace it onto tissue paper and then transfer onto the rubber.

I decided to start with two layers. The first would encompass the background (blue sky) and the second the owl (in dark brown).

As I transferred the images onto two pieces of rubber, I decided I also wanted the owl’s beak to be yellow and the heart to be red. Not feeling up to creating two tiny linocuts for these elements, I decided to include them on the background carving and figure out a way to add the colours before printing.

After rolling on the blue sky, I hand painted the beak and heart onto the rubber with a small paint brush. It worked!

The final step was to print the owl carving. Not having any brown ink, I mixed purple, red and yellow inks together. That worked too!

This print worked so well, I can hardly wait to start working on the next one! Meantime, though, I will be printing an edition of this owl, which will be on display and for sale at Bird on a Wire Creations in Vancouver, BC, next week. (If you’re in town on Thursday evening, Feb 2, drop by to say hi!)



  1. So sweet, I love it. And your detailing is great!

  2. […] individually applied to the paper.  The making of the owl has been well documented on Robi’s blog, and a good read! Personally, I am really interested to see the technique that she uses so that she […]

    • Thanks for the great blog post Rina and Karen, and just a quick heads up that the date this Saturday is Feb 25, not the 18th 🙂
      Best – Robi

  3. I love that you’ve posted the steps involved in making this print. It’s really lovely, and inspires me to want to try my hand at this too.

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