Printmaking – Woodblock printing (Fern, part 1 of 2)


The graphic art / print making course started off with woodblock printing (puupiirros), one type of relief printing. First of all, I have not done any kind of graphic art prints since school times, so all is pretty much new and to be learned. I also faced a bit of terminology pondering while doing this post, but woodblock or block printing seems to be the correct in this case. I think. (other similar/related options were wood engraving and woodcut).

This is still a work in progress, but since the next session is, what.. in the end of next month, I wanted to post a part one on what is to come.

So we had some basic Finnish plywood (vaneri) to which I drew my design of fern after preparing the wood with gesso. Gesso ensures I can see clearly where I have carved and where not. First I sketched some fern to my sketchbook and then modified the design to transparent paper choosing which frond design to use, skip or reuse. Then I copied the design to the wood using tracing paper. I should have turned my sketch to get tracing as mirror image but forgot, or chose not to, do not recall why I did not do it, thus final print will be mirrored then from original design.

Before starting off the carving process, I also made three Japanese papers ready with a background color. The wood block was fully covered in paint and then color was printed to the paper using press.


Once the papers were ready and set to dry, I started off with the carving. I roughly estimated I perhaps can get the shapes carved out within the ~3hour session, but uhm, I used some time with phone and drinking coffee. So now I still have to carve out the last frond and as expected, need to clean the edges and add some details.


As soon as I get tools to continue at home (which hopefully are not crappy ones), I will finish up the carving and then in the next lesson I can finish up with the printing. I also have some color thinking to do before that…

(paper: Japanese paper

cut to pieces)


part 2 post here:


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