Here’s the plywood block cut with the design, after printing and after washing. I like the way the wood grain shows faintly, as well as a couple of mistakes!
I cut the design in plywood and printed several versions of this yesterday. I am going to make a much paler print, then make another cut block with straight cuts which I can then over print in a dark colour.
I really enjoyed the cutting part, but I have to say I find the print process more challenging. I seem to get ink in all the wrong places. I have not yet made a two colour version of this block. I may cut some more wood away and do some more prints.
I have used the block with various colours and right now I love the block itself, I have inked in the places where the wood has been cut away, the other colours are the remains of past imprints.
I have still not properly mastered the skill required to make a good print, there are lots of ways of pressing the paper onto the block, probably the best is by using a professional press but they are expensive. There are lots of smaller cheaper presses on the market or available for ad hoc use at various print studios.
The options for independent studios is to use a hard rubber roller, a barren, or the back of a spoon. These all require a certain amount of time, the spoon method takes the longest. I have discovered by watching helpful videos on You Tube, that it is possible to lift the paper, One end at a time, to scrutinise the progress of the print, so you can go back over any inadequately pressed areas.
These prints below are not in any particular order apart from the first, which I made before cutting lines across some faces of the block.
I recently attended a woodcut and print workshop at the London Print Studio taught by Jonathan Ashworth. It was a great day, Jonathan is a super teacher – wish it had lasted longer! The woodcutting takes some time and skill and then there’s all the printing to be done.
We began by simply making different kinds of marks using the various tools on a small block, just to see what it was like. Then we each made a block to our own design. This is my first block, after I had printed from it several times.
This is the first print I made whilst at the workshop, a two colour print, the vertical lines are on the back of the same block. I printed the dull pink first from the front of the block and then later the blue using the back of the block.
Heres a print I made later at home, just one colour. At first I found it quite difficult to make the print even, it was so easy at the workshop as we used a large professional press. At home I only have a hard rubber or a barren. It takes practice but I have definitely improved.
I made this two colour print at home, making a mistake with the registration, so its slightly wrong both horizontally and vertically. So much to learn!
I have long admired many practitioners of woodcut, woodblock and Lino cut printing, I’ve thought for a long time that if I tried it, I could get really obsessed with it.
In the last few months I have attended three print-making workshops. The first was at the Tate Modern, taught by the Illustrator Lizzy Stewart www.abouttoday.co.uk. I enjoyed it immensely.
Lizzy suggested we each bring a piece of text or a poem which might inspire us to make illustrations of that text, mostly using simple mono-print techniques, using just black ink and metal or glass plates.
I took Robin Roberstson’s poem “At Roane Head” to work from and made this. It was to be one of four illustrations in a long thin book but I did not have time to finish it. I must do so one day.
I loved cutting the wood plate, really tried hard to create an intricate and accurate double image, to be printed in two colours.
It took longer than the time available but I did make some interesting images and have made several more prints at home since then. Jonathan is an excellent teacher.
This is actually a test piece, trying out the tool for the first time to see what marks I could make. It was then printed in blue in one direction and then pink in the other producing an interesting range of imagery.
I have lots more prints in various stages of refinement and in various colours, to be continued . . . .