Monday, 20 February 2012

The story of a wood engraving print

The House in the Woods
wood engraving print from a limited edition of 16 prints (10cm x 10cm)

The full story: work in progress
Rough thumbnail sketches and the start of the engraving process. For this piece I deliberately kept the drawing on the block pretty loose and unfinished. This should allow for more spontaneous engraving and help to keep things nice and lively...

The house in the woods starts to take shape. The four main weapons of choice being a medium Spitsticker, an extra-fine Round Scorper, a medium Lozenge Graver and a medium Bullsticker (!)

Time for the first proofing print. The image is not finished but I need a proof in order to see what aspects of the image need to be developed further. The block is inked with black Linseed Oil based Relief Printing Ink and hand burnished with a bamboo leaf covered printing baren.

Using the proofing print as a guide for further engraving, I've marked out areas that need further attention and development. At this stage, having a nice crisp black image on the woodblock makes things much easier to see. The magnifier gets used at this stage for some of the finer detail.

When the engraving is complete it's time to break out the special paper! In this case it's lightweight Japanese Hosho paper. Gorgeous stuff. The back of the paper is hand-burnished with a printing baren and then with the back of my favourite wooden spoon.

The small edition of 16 hand-burnished prints are left to dry. In a few days they'll get numbered, signed and dated. After that, they'll be left to their own devices and will have to make their own way in the world...

You never know, one might turn up in a second-hand market near you in 20 year's time. It probably still won't be worth much though ;0)

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