‘Six Geese NOT Laying’ – Two Colour Relief Print Christmas Card Design

A printed reproduction of six geese standing up to their ankles in snow. Some are wearing a red scarf, some wear hats, some are wearing both. One goose has her beak open to speak and her text is in red above. It reads "We don't care what the song says, it's too cold."


I have a friend who is a cattle farmer. She also has some very cheeky geese who send one goose to distract the humans while the others get up to mischief like scrumping apples in the autumn!

I’d had the idea for this card for a little while but decided to use Canada geese as they seem even more cantankerous than all the others and you wouldn’t want to mess with them if they refused to lay...


Unusually for me, this was a two colour print, meaning I’d need to create one plate for the red bits (the hats, scarves and text) and another for the black bits (the geese and the snow).

So that they would line up when I printed the black over the red, I traced the design twice and set to work.

Here’s the image traced onto the Lino ready to cut.

The original sketch for Six Geese NOT Laying traced and back to front on the lino ready for cutting

My goodness, it would have been much easier to just drop the text into the card design when I sent it to the printer, because text is much harder to cut than feathers, fins or fur, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, I do like a challenge...

So, here’s how the red bits looked when I printed them. Ghostly garments awaiting their geese.

Come on, ink, dry so I can print the black layer!

The red bits for Six Geese NOT Laying printed and ready for the black layer

This is the proof of the black bits. Definitely ready to be printed over the top of the red layer and with that, we were done!

The black bits for Six Geese NOT Laying printed and ready to be printed over the top of the red layer

[Edited December 31, 2020]

While I was printing this card, I was sad to learn that many of the food parcels that were distributed in 2020 by the UK’s Food Banks were given to families with children.

Christmas is supposed to be magical for kids and the thought of little ones going hungry on such a big day for them was hard to bear... So I decided I would make the Trussell Trust (Food Bank) my chosen charity of 2020.

It seemed that many of you wanted to help, too and bought many packs of Six Geese NOT Laying cards.

Your generosity meant I was able to make a hefty donation to the Food Bank. Thank you.

Posted in Linocut, The Making of....