Woodcut Experiment

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Multiblock woodcut, 10″x 13″

This is a test print from a woodcut I have been working on.  It is based on a sketchbook drawing I did in ink and gouache which you can see here.  What I was looking for in this experiment was a way to emulate my drawing style in the woodcut printmaking process.

The original piece is on a grey painted background and the drawing is in three steps: the sanguine line work is done first, the black shadow shapes second and the white highlights last.  I adapted this to a woodcut by carving three separate blocks.  The first block is the grey background and all of the white areas are carved away from this block.  The second block is all of the red lines.  The third block is all of the dark shadow colors. I wasn’t concerned with the image being reversed when printed so I didn’t flip the drawing before carving.  With a woodcut you really can’t be sure exactly how it will turn out until it is printed anyway so I used the resulting flip as an added surprise.

I feel good about the outcome and that the experiment was a success.  It is surprisingly close to the feel of my original drawing.  I was worried about registration with the three blocks (registration is making things line up correctly to create the image) but I was super careful and it worked close to perfect.  The grey background did not print solidly on this proof but I like the mottled appearance because it mimics the uneven quality of the gouache.  If I print it more solidly I will use a lighter grey, I think, and I am considering carving into the background to break it up a bit.  Add some noise so it isn’t just flat color.

6 comments
  1. AshleyLopez said:

    Have you ever dabbled into waterless lithography or stone lithography? Based on your sketch and what your aiming for – I think you be able to accomplish it!

    • AshleyLopez said:

      It still is a beautiful woodcut though. One of my favorite processes.

      • Thank you!

    • I had never heard of waterless lithography. That looks really interesting. I did exactly one stone lithograph in school many years ago.

      • AshleyLopez said:

        I’ve never done toe stone, I have done the waterless, it’s done using a wax pencil and every mark you make will show up, so you’d get the texture of graphite on the print in the end!

  2. Very powerful. I think you’re on to something and hope you continue! And yes, some background perhaps, to ground her.

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