Woodblock Printmaking

Woodcuts are a form of relief printmaking. The areas which receive the ink remain raised and the unused area is removed.

process1_320Jeanne begins a woodcut with a drawing often inspired by a photograph she has taken. A tracing of the drawing is transferred onto a clean block of Japanese all-shina plywood specially made for printmaking. When the transfer is completed the actual cutting begins. Detail, texture, shapes and forms are created by using various gauges, knives and other tools to cut or mark the wood. The number of blocks needed for the finished print is determined by the composition and the colors desired.

When all of the blocks are cut, proofing is needed to establish the order of printing. Each block is then printed in succession on a single sheet of Japanese “washi” paper. It is like building a visual puzzle, one piece (or block, in this case) at a time until all of the spaces are occupied or filled with a color or pattern. To over simplify it, one print might be comprised of 3 blocks; the sky on one block, the foreground on the second, and the trees on the third. Complexity comes as the detail and number of blocks increases.