I had a go at a woodcut now that I have my beautiful new Pheil tools and a birch blank. I used a photo from Instagram as my main bird focus; a herring gull by Steve Evans:
I added some companions to balance the composition, but realised as I was carving the block (which was a wonderfully enjoyable experience in itself) I was treating it like Lino. I am a self-taught artist, as although I have taken a foundation course in drawing, both my painting and printing is wholly experimental!
Consequently, the ‘blank’ areas have carving lines across them, which I discovered when I took a graphite rubbing of the block.
I didn’t know how it would look as a print so decided to ink up the block and have a go…
I’ve not printed from a proper woodcut block before so wasn’t sure about the ink application, so the photos above show the first, second, and third passes without inking in between. I like the middle one best, and I did some lino prints with the first pass to take some of the excess off the plate and roller:
I am really pleased with them! Next time I will try a bit more detail, and take advantage of the properties of the wood rather than just cutting out the bird’s shape. For a first try though I really love them, and like the size too – they measure 10 x 15cm so are a really nice size to both carve and print. The Zerkall Smooth 120gsm paper measures 13 x 19cm, they are printed with Schmincke water-based black ink, and are signed on the reverse.
These are for sale at £10 each including UK postage.
Herring Gull Woodcut Print
10 x 15cm black woodcut print