Matthew Carey Simos

One from the archives / “What awaits the morning after” reduction linocut


“What awaits the morning after”

Multi-block, Reduction linocut

Edition of 22

31cm x 35cm

Printed in 2013 at Edinburgh Printmakers

on Saunders Waterford HP 190gsm paper

Available for sale here


“What awaits the morning after” was my first linocut where I attempted to recreate a nocturnal scene. Following my obsession with the theme of the “Explorers”, I chose to have my heroes resting by a campfire under what appears to be a strange, almost claw-like, rock formation.

The framing of the image and the distance, positioning of the viewer was meant to create a voyeuristic and slightly sinister feeling. This is intensified by the surrounding darkness and the somewhat menacing formation above the two figures. However, the same formation and the warm colours from the camp fire have a protective effect and create a haven for the weary travellers.



The process

As with all my recent linocuts, I prepared my image complete with the colour layers using digital editing software and a pen tablet, printed it out and transferred/traced the black lines on a fresh piece of lino in order to create a “key” block.


After carving the key block out, inking it up and transfering the image on two fresh pieces of lino through the method of offsetting, I was able to create my “blue” and “yellow” blocks.


These were then reduced multiple times to print four blue layers and three yellow, while black one (the key block) was printed in the end.



The two colour blocks were done in such a way that there was almost zero overlapping and therefore I was able to produce a linocut with vibrant, contrasting colours.


If I had used one block for both warm and cool colours I was likely going to get colour mixing (blue + yellow = green) due to the transparency of the inks. I could of course have used a lot of white in my ink, or printed a layer of pure white before changing from warm to cool (or vice versa), but that would add more work to an already long printing process. It would also not give me the results I was after.



As with all my linocuts there are things I regret once the print is finished and has been sitting in a box for a few months. With this one, apart from the odd detail, I sort of regret not sticking to the original, minimal aesthetic of the line work, but  I am overall happy with how it turned out. Although I love black lines, I sometimes tend to leave more than planned beacause linocutting allows me to do so.  It sometimes seems like a shame to remove all that lino.


A visual comparison of the final linocut on the left vs the digital, reference  copy on the right

Another thing I always forget to do is flip my image horizontally and therefore I always end up with a mirror image of my original idea. This mostly does not affect the final image as there is no text, but it is quite strange to spend many hours viewing an image one way and then countless more viewing it mirrored. I mean there must have been a reason I chose a certain orientation over the other when designing an image.




One from the archives / “Winter” reduction linocut



Multi-block, Reduction linocut

Edition of 23

27cm x 39.5cm

Printed in 2013 at Edinburgh Printmakers

on Saunders Waterford HP 190gsm paper

Available for sale here


The “Winter” linocut is based on a B&W photograph of Geiko (geisha) Kayo dressed in winter clothes ready for a snowy day.

I produced this linocut at the request of my partner Eleni who really liked the striking look of the draped and seated Geiko Kayo. The colours are guessed and my choosing them is on an aestetic basis.

The whole printing process was done at Edinburgh Printmakers on a hydraulic platten press with oil based inks, over the course of a couple of months. The later layers took longer to dry due to Scotland’s cold and wet climate and of course the build up of the previous layers.



“Winter” was my first linocut with at least 10 layers. It was made out of two blocks, one for the reds and the final dark outlines



and one for the blues, yellows and greens




“Tread lightly” reduction linocut

This print was done for the 20:20 Print Exchange with Hot Bed Press. It was completed in mid october and I cannot wait for my share of the 20 different prints!

It is a four colour reduction linocut, printed with oil based inks on Saunders Waterford 190 gsm paper. It is a limited edition of 25 prints and paper dimensions are 20 x 20 cm with the image being slightly smaller.

I am happy to be doing fantasy-themed work again and I am glad the linocut method does it justice. Similar work will follow in due time.

Although I have given the full edition to the print exchange organisers, I have kept a few artist proofs for myself. I will be deciding what to do with them soon! :P

“Gleaners” Illustration

I was recently commissioned by the folks at Stir To Action to do an illustration for their soon to be published, crowd funded, free book. I was asked to do a modern take on “The Gleaners”, by Jean-François Millet, 1857 and this is what I came up with:

I first did a linocut for the outlines and then added the background, texture, colour and certain details digitally.

The book launch is on 24th November in London and the featured artwork will be exhibited and for sale. Depending on how many requests the organisers get, I may be asked to hand -print a limited edition run in full colour , as close as possible to this image. Definitely a challenge, but an exciting one!

I should be receiving the book in the next few days and I really look forward to seeing it.

I will keep you posted!

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