Here are a few examples of white line prints to help students prepare images for the White Line Woodblock workshops that I teach. Hopefully this will give you a sense of what is possible with this method and help you as you prepare your drawings.
The white line woodblock method was founded in the early 1900s in Provincetown, Massachusetts, by a group of artists who were interested in Japanese printmaking but grew tired of the tedium of cutting a block of wood for every color as that method demanded. These Provincetown artists, including Blanche Lazzell and Edna Boies Hopkins, developed a way to make a polychrome print from a single block of wood.
|Monongahila by Blanche Lazzell|
|Canoes (Swift Water) by Edna Boies Hopkins|
In the white line method, a simple line drawing is incised on the block with a knife or gouge creating v-shaped cuts, which become white lines when printed.
|A white line carving in process|
|Printing in process|
Below is a gallery of white line prints showing a range of the kinds of prints that can be made with this method. Note that although white line woodcuts have historically been figurative, since they are drawing-based there is no reason why they cannot be as abstract or expressive as any other form of drawing. Your sketch just needs to be simple enough to transfer to a block by tracing with carbon paper. (Or you can draw directly onto the block.)
|B.J.O. Norfeldt, who is said to have invented the method in 1915|
|Edith Lake Wilkinson, who may have actually invented the method in 1914 (see the documentary Packed in a Trunk)|
|Ada Gilmore (Chaffee) - a particularly painterly application of color|
|Florence Cannon, active in the 1940s|
|Karl Knaths, a Provincetown artist|
|Kathryn Smith, a contemporary artist with family ties to the original Provincetown Printers|
|William Evaul, a contemporary Cape Cod artist who has taken white line VERY large|
|Ray Heus, another contemporary artist with ties to Cape Cod. Ray also does mokuhanga printmaking|
|Katherine Lovell, a Rhode Island painter and printmaker|
|Four works by Annie Bissett that all use the same block matrix, just with different colors (plus some toner transfer)|