10 January 2006

Loosen The Knots - New Print

Loosen the Knots - Sketch

This is a sketch for a print I've been mentally working on for about 6 weeks. It's the next in my 36 Ways To Use Your Lifeline series, and I call it "Loosen the Knots."

I continue to be amazed at how long the process of composing a woodblock print takes from start to finish, especially when compared to doing a digital illustration. I've literally been working on this design for weeks, but all I have to show for it is this sketch. The rest of the work is only in my head.

A couple of weeks ago I started reading Hiroshi Yoshida's book, Japanese Woodblock Printing, which is posted in its entirety on the Baren Forum, and I was delighted to hear Yoshida describe the slowness of the process just as I've experienced it. Here is an excerpt.

The outstanding feature of print-making is analysis. The ability to analyze is the most essential part of the print-artist's work. In order to do this well, he must first have a complete picture in his mind, analyze it, and produce the necessary blocks for the colours, etc. Nothing like it is to be found in the painter's work. ...

When the drawing is ready, the artist must not be hasty in pasting this sen-gaki on the block and proceeding to cut lines. One should hang it on the wall for a number of days and contemplate it, thinking about the later processes which must eventually follow. If one is too hasty, and it is found necessary to alter or add something afterward, it will be extremely difficult to make the change. It is very essential that one should give all the thought possible just here, before pasting the sen-gaki on the block for cutting. I usually keep it hung up for many days and think about the colour blocks and the different modes of printing to be employed.


Ellen Shipley said...

Wow. That's how I weave. It takes forever in the prep stage. I sketch and doodle and do draw-downs and play with yarns. I live with the idea for weeks sometimes before I ever begin to warp my loom.

But that was before I found printmaking. Now my loom gathers dust in the corner. ;-j

Ellen Shipley said...

I meant to add, I love your sketch. I can't wait to see how it develops.

Nels said...

Oh Gosh, not only do I have to learn the techniques of moku hanga, but I now realize I have to work on the philosophical side as well! I really like the concept of taking ones time and allowing the mind to fully digest the image and upcoming process. I am always so frenetic, and in such a big hurry to get it done and see the results. Maybe after I soon retire I will find the extra time.

Cin said...

I'm so glad to have talked to you about your printing, I appreciate what you are saying here so much more because of it, I understand more and more what an amazing process it is to produce a print.

This drawing is so lovely, so beautiful in concept and the simplicity of design, can't wait to see where you will go (but not hastily!) with color