Here are the next three. They are are 3" X 5", and they really don't take very long to make because they're so small. Designing them takes maybe 15 minutes, transferring takes maybe five, and then cutting them maybe another fifteen minutes. so it's pretty fast. What's surprising me is how much I'm enjoying designing them, because usually, in all the other mediums I play in, what I enjoy the most is the execution, and I tend to rush through the design process. But that clearly wasn't working here, so I've put more time into it, and have been liking it a lot.
I thought I'd also talk some about what I mean by "developing skills" in linocuts. I have lots of skills in drawing and making pictures, but I am overwhelmed by the whole linocut process. The skills I'm lacking:
1. Hand skills--how to make the kinds of marks I want to make. It's still really rough. I'm learning how to do curves, how to end marks, how not to make big ugly gouges when I don't mean to, etc. Everyone needs hand skills. I have hand skills in a lot of other things, but not this (yet--but I'm getting there).
2. How to reduce everything to black and white. It's tricky. The dark darks are obviously black and the light lights are obviously white, but what about the stuff in the middle? At what point do you assign a gray to white and a gray to black. I'm working on that. It's an exercise in simplification.
3. How to "show" everything, reducing it to black and white. This will be more for things more complex than a face, but it applies to faces too. I'm thinking whole scenes. You have to have everything show that needs to be shown, but how do you do that dark figure against a dark background. I've been studying the prints of some of my favorite printmakers, and different people have different solutions, some of which I like and others of which I don't.