17 March 2006

Copying Hiratsuka


Sosaku hanga artist Un'ichi Hiratsuka (1895-1997) developed a technique for achieving a distinctive jagged-edged line by poking sideways along the line with a square-end chisel (above). I wanted the words on my "Serenity Prayer" woodblock to have a similar feeling - choppy and jagged with lots of movement - so I decided to copy Hiratsuka's technique. Here's a closeup of a rough proof I pulled from my block.

Closeup Of Lettering

It feels right, given the content of these words, to literally be picking and poking the letters out of the wood. I'm enjoyed the process.


tom said...

Hi Annie,

I also read a description of this "poking" aproach and decided to give it a try. My interpretation was to carve nice crisp deep edges as per normal, then to gently hack at them with the aisuki. This seemed to give me the right look, but I'm not sure if this is the poking that Statler refers to. When working at black shapes the effect is to reduce the mass of black and by degrees one can bring the negative shapes into balance.

The print I am working on has caused me some heartache, because, like you, I chose to render the detail in reverse. That is to carve out the linework and let it be defined by the background colour. This seems easy at the outset, but it dictates where the print can go. A white line is somehow more trouble to print than a black line. One can always lay down a full background colour and overprint, but this approach means filling the paper with ink.

Problems, problems. But fun too.

Julio Rodriguez said...

Annie, back a while I made a tribute print to Hiratsuka based on some of his calendar images, I tried to achieve the rough edge look perhpas a bit unsuccessful..my image is a montage of three of his nudes from calendars created in the 1970's: