05 October 2005

An Andy English Print

© Andy English

This beautiful little 4" x 6" print just arrived in the mail from my new friend Andy English, a British wood engraver I met through the Baren Forum. It's called "Walking Towards Ely." I love the magical storybook quality of the illustration and the backlighting.

Although both woodcuts and wood engravings are forms of relief printing using wood, wood engraving is quite different from the type of woodcut prints I'm learning to make. For one thing, woodcuts are made using the plank side of the wood, while wood engraving is done on the end grain. Engravers use a press to print rather than hand printing and generally use oil-based inks rather than water-based. Even the cutting tools used are different. Engravers use tools with really cool names like "scorper" and "spitsticker."

Endgrain wood holds much finer detail than plankside wood, as you can see here in this enlargement of a 1 1/2" x 2" section of Andy's print. Compare it with the full print above to get a sense of the scale of these amazing marks that Andy makes with his engraving tools.

For those of you who love bookplates (and I know you're out there!) Andy has a whole section on his web site devoted to bookplates. Thanks for the print, Andy!

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