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A Humongous Proof

11 Oct


Today was day 2 of a Masterclass with woodcut artist John Abell at Swansea Print Workshop and I carried on cutting the humongous piece of MDF I started yesterday. I used compressed charcoal to darken the surface while I cut with my Flexcut tools. Finally, I reached the point where I wanted to get an idea of what it would look like printed up – you can always cut more away but you can never replace it once it’s gone. So I printed a proof print. This is a first pull, to see what you’ve done and decide whether it’s just right or needs more work.


I used a 50:50 mix of Daler Rowney Georgian Lamp Black oil paint with their Block Printing Medium, very soft, much softer than the relief printing ink I normally use. I rolled the ink over the wood, but it was very absorbent and used up far more than I am used to. I used Fabriano Accademica paper from a roll which was a bit awkward to handle at that size. I used a wooden spoon and a Japanese baren, rubbing hard over the back of the paper to take the print.


I have mixed feelings about it. I like the bits where I used a larger cutting tool in bold strokes, towards the top, but where I tried smaller tools to get a softer, more nuanced effect, it didn’t work at all and I need to get back into it, cutting much more boldly. I think I’ll also put in some lettering. But I’ll leave it a few days to dry out a bit so I’m not cutting through sticky goo.

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