digital image
drawings woodcuts digital about the art


How I Work - Woodcuts

In the original print, as opposed to the photographically reproduced print, the artist creates a plate by hand, using a variety of techniques and tools, inks it and pulls each print by hand. Because each print is an original created by the artist and there is no other original from which it is created, they are often referred to as multiple originals. Some of the types of original prints are, serigraphs, etchings, lithographs (not off-set lithography which is just another name for photographically reproduced prints) and woodcuts.

The woodcut has been my primary medium of choice in my work over the years.

the materials:
In the wood block print, the plate is made from wood. My choices have been pine (because it is cheap - but it is also difficult to work with because of the combination of soft wood and tough grain), cherry (a good wood that is both hard and close grained enough to get nice detail ), and rough, weathered planks for those pleasing "natural" effects they produce.

I cut the wood with a variety of tools but most often use just an exacto knife for the detailed work I enjoy doing.

I create woodcuts in both one color and multicolor styles. I don't keep a wide variety of inks but tend to mix the colors I want from simple red, yellow and blue. Although occasionally I will get a lovely magenta or violet ink to add some variety to the mixture.

the process:
I make a complete drawing with a soft lead pencil directly onto the wood. Then I cut out all the areas meant to remain white or that are not to be inked in the color of that plate. Each color in a multi-color print has a separate block cut for it.

After the block is cut, the selected color of ink is rolled over the surface evenly with a rubber roller. Then a sheet of paper is placed carefully on the inked plate and the back rubbed firmly with a smooth, hard round object (such as a porcelain doorknob) until the image on the block has been transferred completely to the paper. The printed paper is hung to dry.

For multi-colored prints a separate block is cut for each color, inked with the selected color and the same paper is printed repeatedly to apply each color to the print.

the work:
I enjoy the way that the tools and the wood force the artwork created in this way to have a more rought finish than my drawings or digital work. The lines are courser, the shapes more rugged and irregular. It is as if the wood were talking back to me, inserting its own properties and qualities into the work.

More than any of the other media that I use, I never really know what the woodcut is going to look like until it is finished. It is never exactly as I imagined or planned. I have to look at it for several days to get used to what it has became on its own as I was creating it. And, like ink drawings, there is very little room for modification after it is completed

contact © Mardi 1976 - 2015