Partly because of his friendship with Bas Kist, in 1917-18 Mauk Escher started to focus more on his drawing. In Bas he found an equal who took to drawing as much as he did. Together they also went looking for the secrets behind the lino- and woodcut. Drawing and graphic arts became more important to them than school.
Mauk send some of his first linoleum cuts to the renowned painter and graphic artist R.N. Roland Holst (1868-1938). In November 1918 Maurits wrote to Roland Holst about his crudely developed technique:
“I just use a small knife. You can understand it’ll never become a finely detailed work this way, also due to the soft material in which i cut. I use ordinary oil paint for printing and the mangle to press it.’
This bookplate for T. (Tony) de Ridder is one of the linocuts from this period. Maurits translated the initials to ‘Toom dit ros’ (Tame this steed). It could be a reference to his ambitions to master the graphic techniques more perfectly.