20 July 2005

Running Into Trouble

So I did a great bokashi, and then went on to print Block #3, the medium green that defines the statue's shadows. It's thrilling how easily I seem to be picking up moku hanga!

But you know what happens as soon as you start congratulating yourself: trouble! It turned out that block #4 was the block from hell. I ruined about 6 out of 15 prints with this block. Take a look at this one, the best of the bunch:

See all that space that isn't printing dark blue - that vast expanse of sky between the Buddha's head and the left edge of the border, and again all that blank space across the cheek? Because in moku hanga you ink the whole block, including the nonprinting areas, I had to struggle to keep the paper from dipping into those nonprinting areas and picking up ink as I applied enough pressure to print the relief areas on the block. It was really really tricky. First I stopped printing and pulled my chisels back out to make the nonprinting areas deeper. That helped some, but it was still difficult. I ended up wiping the sky area clean each time before I applied paper and pressure. Sigh. One more block to go...


happyd said...

Wow! This is a wonderful new blog.

Your woodblock prints are so soft and nice. They look very fluid.

What talent!

Anonymous said...


i found your portfolio site through your links in illustration friday, and instantly fell in love with your illustrations. their simplicity and humanity and insight really inspire me, and it will be nice to see what you do with woodblocks.

thank you for sharing your talent and your process!


Anonymous said...

Hi Annie,

Next time you carve a block try leaving islands of the non-printing areas to support the paper. These islands should be separated from print areas by trench of about an inch. Take a nice broad chisel and shave the edge of the island so it grades away gently. Lastly take some 180 grit sand paper and smooth off the edge. When you ink your block you need to avoid the islands, so it is best to have a range of brush sizes. You will save youself a lot of carving and your prints will register better.