Saturday, January 15, 2011


Well, enough of all that etching silliness. TIME to get back to woodblocks!
I like to use my woodblocks as a sort of home study course.
I've had trouble getting really dark and rich blacks and the subject of the next print is really just a pretext for this task.
Here's one of the original doodles. The domino originated as a white ivory tile with black pips (ebony wood) but for my purposes I went with the black version--usually black painted wood with white dots. I wanted something black, that I could print in a varied way and still have it be interesting.

My original sketch was of a domino with a six and a one but then, at the food store I saw this....and was crushed.
I thought about changing paths/ideas--especially as this one is a bit thin, content-wise. But after waffling and postponing, I finally just charged ahead.
Drinking some of the bottle helped. It's not bad. So I went back to the sketchbook and tried again:

This is the preparatory drawing for the blocks, colored in with colored pencils.
The liveliness comes from the handling of the color; in this case I've colored in using black, over red, over ochre, over yellow, each time laying color on the paper and the rough oak table underneath imparts an irregular surface to the color.
Achieving this kind of color/liveliness/richness with water based, transparent pigments in a block print is the challenge. I'll need several blocks and have to print each multiple times to achieve anything near this interesting....we'll see...

I glued my hanshita's down and started carving. I finished the keyblock last week; blocks 2 and 3 tonight.
Should be able to get the next three carved tomorrow?


  1. Nice drawing. I look forward to seeing how you layer the colors to achieve "liveliness" (I like that word).
    And wow, I just noticed your fish pond down at the bottom of the screen. Fun! They let me feed them :)

  2. Andrew,
    I like this better at the angle of the drawing...what a cool idea, so simple but such a strong image!

  3. Well, getting the PRINT to look like, or as good as, the drawing is going to be an exercise.

    My original prep drawing was done precisely, with a ruler and graph paper and compass and once lightly drawn on the block, quickly abandoned.
    It was so sterile and lifeless.
    I went back to a hand-drawn tile with hand-drawn circles. It's one of those times that the wonkiness of the drawing--the irregularities in shape, line, and contour make it spontaneous and interesting.
    SO, we'll see if it can be transferred, carved and printed and still stay lively.
    Stay tuned.