Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Create Your Own Woodcut Print

I decided that it would be too difficult to post about M.C. Escher without showing any images and, especially, without getting into a lot of really complex mathematical concepts that I don’t understand well enough to write about just yet (and definitely not in an interesting way). So instead, I’m posting about woodcut printing. This is, incidentally, how M.C. Escher created many of his works. At the end you’ll find instructions to make your own woodcut print.

When he creates a woodcut print, the artist first draws or prints an image onto a block of wood. Then he cuts away the background. That is, he cuts away everything that he doesn’t want to come out in color in the print. Then the artist rolls ink onto the woodblock. The ink will coat the image and leave the background clean. Finally, the woodblock is pressed onto paper and the image appears, exactly as shown on the woodblock but in reverse.

Create Your Own Woodcut Print

Supplies Needed:

Styrofoam Plate
Ink Pad

Gather your supplies. You can use the leftover Styrofoam plate after you finish a container of berries. Cut the edges off to create a flat surface. Protect your workspace with newspaper.

You should design your image first, on a scrap piece of paper. Then draw it onto the Styrofoam plate with a marker. Don’t press too hard.

Now, use your pencil to color in everything you didn’t mark with your marker. Feel free to press hard this time. This will leave the marker lines raised above the background. Those lines will pick up the ink and the part you colored in with pencil will not.

Press your ink pad onto the Styrofoam. Be sure to mark all the lines with the ink. Quickly but carefully press the Styrofoam onto your piece of paper.

And now you have a simple and safe woodcut print of your own. You can make as many copies of your print as you want in as many colors and on as many types of paper. Mix and match and have fun with it.

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