Tag Archives: woodcuts

A Big Box Of Pencils

13 Jan

 

tracing 3

I did a bit more work on my next woodcut today, making a tracing from my original drawing to transfer the image onto the wood block. I used a thick charcoal pencil for the tracing because I have to turn the tracing paper over to reverse the image onto the wood. Once the reversed image was in place, I drew over the thick charcoal lines using a smaller 2H pencil which gave a fairly fine line. Finally I took the tracing paper off the MDF and went over the faint trace lines with a B pencil, which gives good definition without being too smudgy. I have a big box of pencils. It’s really nice.

tracing 5

I bought the box at a very reasonable price from the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick in The Lake District. It’s a fabulous little gem of a museum, so informative and a great place for graphite geeks to hang out. Just outside Keswick is an old graphite mine, which is why the pencil industry took root there. And it has a factory shop, with cut-price pencils and boxes!

From left to right: tracing over the original drawing; the tracing reversed onto the block of MDF; going over the faint trace lines with a darker pencil.

A Glutton For Punishment

8 Jan

block prep 4

 

So did a couple of hours teaching today and loads of admin- the glamorous life of an artist eh? And a little bit more work on my preparatory drawing for a woodcut. I worked out where the dark areas are to be and started to think about the cutting and registration of the final block. Tomorrow, I’ll trace and transfer to the sheet of MDF in reverse. I’ll probably do a reduction print, or the “suicide method” as we printmakers call it, as it results in the destruction of the block and there’s no room for error. I’m a glutton for punishment.

 

 

A Bit Each Day

7 Jan

tree stage 2

It’s easy to get precious about making art, I’m guilty of that! I spend so much time agonising about what to do that I almost get creative paralysis at times. One of the things I do to overcome this is to start working on a process and just do a bit every day. Sometimes you can work flat out on a piece of art for 7, 8, 9 hours but other times it’s just not possible. So a bit each day is good enough as it gives time to think about it, and thinking time is really important. I carried on redrawing from an original drawing, scaling it up and thinking about the technical problems I’m going to have to work out to develop this into a three-colour woodcut print. I’m using conté crayons in black and sanguine over graphite.

 

 

 

Draw, Redraw And Tidy Up

6 Jan

 

block prep 2

Today I had a good clean out of my working space, sorting out cupboards and boxes, clearing desk tops and shelves, filling recycling bags and setting aside things to give away, a new start for the new year. Then I began to so some preliminary work for a new woodcut. I did a drawing en plein air of a stricken tree back last year that I’ve fancied developing into a print for some time now. I grabbed a piece of drawing paper the size of the piece of MDF I’ll be using to make the woodcut and I started redrawing from my original sketch. I could have just scanned a copy of the original and enlarged it, but by redrawing a few times, I give myself the time and space to work out how I’m going to develop this as a three colour woodcut. The process isn’t easy but I find that this practice of redrawing helps me to focus on the technical details.

 

 

And Breathe!

30 Nov

So, after two and a half months of research, preparation, creative blocks, blood, sweat and a lot of hard work, I finally finished carving my very large block of wood and did the first print. And breathe! The block has been sealed with three coats of shellac and methylated spirits (mixed 50:50) and I am using a Japanese lightweight paper, Hosho, in white for the main print and mulberry papers in red and blue for chine collé. The ink is Caligo / Cranfield’s Safe Wash and I’m taking the print by hand with Japanese barens.

 

I inked up mostly in black with some words picked out in red that I did with a different roller. I also prepared and applied mulberry chine collé. Then Husb lent me a hand to put the Hosho paper onto the block and to rub the back with the Japanese barens.

5 first proof

And here it comes. The first proof. The rest will be revealed in the New Year 😀 This is a commission for the Sky Art 50 programming which is scheduled for March 2019.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

Drawing Blood!

25 Nov

cut 3

I draw lots of things. Today I drew blood! I’m back to reality after our short break to Italy and cracking on with carving my large woodcut (80 x 120 cms), a commission from Sky Arts TV channel. One of the occupational hazards of carving blocks for relief printing is the razor sharp tools that I use. I keep them in good condition with a leather strop and abrasive wax (below).

strop

My attention slipped for a split second, the tool slipped for a split second, and blood spurted out of one of my fingers. Oh well, could be worse. I’ve almost finished carving and it’s my first injury, so I’m not doing too badly.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

It’s All A Bit Zen.

13 Nov

cut 1

 

The carving begins! The final drawing has been transferred in reverse onto the MDF block in compressed charcoal. Then I redrew everything with a brush and walnut ink. And now I’m cutting. After all the rush and stress of the past few weeks, it feels a bit Zen to quietly carve into the wood, carefully scribing the lines and curves with nothing but the sound of my breathing to accompany me. It’s very meditative.

 

cut 2

This is a large woodcut commissioned by Sky Arts television channel for ART50. You can read more about what I’m doing here.

 

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

 

 

Getting On With It

12 Nov

DSC_1843

I’m on the last leg now with “Here Be Dragons”, my commission for Sky Arts, getting my final design transferred into a large sheet of MDF. I’m back in my studio at home, with Helen Finney’s portrait of me looking down as I work.

 

DSC_1846

I transferred it using detail paper, that had a tracing of the design in compressed charcoal. Once that was on the MDF, I went over each line with a good quality squirrel hair brush and home-made walnut ink. Tomorrow, the cutting begins!

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

Still Slogging Away….

10 Nov

final 2a

 

Still slogging away. I have redrawn this yet again and now I think I’m finally happy with the way the textual imagery flows. This is the third version that I have worked up, and I did it lightly in graphite first.

 

final 2b

 

Then I covered it with detail paper (tracing) and copied it through with compressed charcoal, which will help when I turn it over to copy it onto a sheet of wood – it has to be carved in reverse of course. Off to the DIY centre next, to get a sheet of MDF. This is the reality of doing art, reworking and refining and slogging away, not very glamorous, eh?

 

 

 

 

Back To The Drawing Board

7 Nov

Literally, back to the drawing board. I worked up a full scale drawing yesterday, ready to transfer to a block for cutting. But I’m not happy with it. There’s so much text to fit into the space and I think it’s too busy and cramped so today, back to basics, redrawing each word so the text is more abstracted. Tomorrow, I’ll work it up onto another full size sheet of paper and see where that gets me.

reworking a

 

This is a commission for Sky Arts television.

sky-arts art 50 mash up

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