I've learned so much about moku hanga in just a few short months. I'm happy about that, but I'm also feeling really restless and dissatisfied with the prints I've made.
Part of the problem is that I could just as easily... no, way more easily... have done most of them digitally. Here's the problem in a nutshell:
Looking at it this way, choosing a medium is kind of a no-brainer, isn't it?
Yet, it's not just about the picture or the time involved. It's also about the wood, the pigments, the beautiful paper. I like using my hands, I like the resistance of the wood, I enjoy wrestling with it, I love the bright pigments and I adore the Japanese paper. But there's something missing in the process for me. I've been doing all my creating in the first few hours, and then just reproducing what I created in the sketch phase. It's the process I've learned to follow as a commercial illustrator - do a loose sketch, do a tight sketch, get it approved, then color it. So I'm "doing moku hanga," but I'm not making pictures that could only be made with a block of wood. And I'm not really experiencing the wood as I work. I'm not really interacting with it; instead I'm trying to subdue it or master it.
What I want to do is find the wood. I want to make pictures that can only come from wood and I want the whole process to be alive and interactive and full of surprises and energy. I have no idea where to start.
No, wait, of course I know where to start! Start with the wood! You want to find the wood, start with the wood.
OK. Off I go. I'll get back to you soon...
P.S. - I'll happily take suggestions if you have any thoughts. Thanks.