Saturday, 13 February 2021

Learning to love Japanese woodblock


my second Japanese woodblock print
© Teresa Newham

I recently had another Japanese woodblock print session, after tidying up the original blocks from the first one.  They'd scrubbed up well, but it was obvious when I looked at the registration prints from my original attempt that I needed to clear away some more.

evaluating the blocks after the first print session
© Teresa Newham

That done, it was time to prepare the damp pack. Luckily I had plenty of notes to check in case I'd forgotten something vital  -  whichI did several times throughout the whole process, because the Japanese woodblock technique isn't second nature to me yet . . .

preparing a damp pack
© Teresa Newham

I used gouache as the print medium. Even while I was making trash prints and taking impressions on newsprint to check the colours and the registration, I could see that the colours were truer than I'd achieved with watercolour.

the colours were definitely truer with gouache
© Teresa Newham

Despite my best efforts, I still managed to over-ink the blocks - although I did use less ink than previously.  I'm too keen to get results straight away, and will have to get used to the idea that bright colours are best achieved by printing one layer a couple of times.

printing the various layers
© Teresa Newham

Finally I had six prints on three different washi papers. To dry, they go between sheets of clean newsprint for an hour under a light weight, and then under a pile of books for a few days, layered between sheets of blotting paper, which is changed daily.

placing the prints between layers of clean newsprint
© Teresa Newham

It's true - everything about this process is a faff, but I shall do more. At the moment, however, I have lots of ideas for linocuts, too, so I will set Japanese Woodblock aside for a while. Just as well I made those notes!

the finished prints on three different types of washi paper
© Teresa Newham

1 comment:

  1. This is a fascinating technique and is yielding great results already!