Editor’s note: With the first Stick Chair Journal shipping out very soon, we wanted to highlight the woodcut on the cover. >>Stay tuned for a shipping date!<<
Making a Woodcut
When making a woodcut you need to make sure to remember two things:
- The printed image will be a mirror of the image you see on the block you are carving.
- You have to remove the areas in the woodblock that will not be printed.
In short, this means that the black lines you see on the finished image are the places you didn’t cut any wood away on the block. To make a woodcut, you have to think in the negative and in mirror.
Stick Chair Journal No. 1
I started this woodcut using a photograph of the beautiful chair featured in the Stick Chair Journal No. 1, made by Christopher Schwarz.
I made some sketches to see how the print would look. For sketching, I recently started using black paper and white pens. In essence, this is exactly the process used in making a woodcut.
I initially wanted to create a ‘grey’ background behind the chair, similar to my wood engraving of a Welsh Highback Chair but the diagonal lines proved to be too distracting for the cover.
So we decided on a blank background instead, to really make the chair stand out. This woodcut also became the design of the Stick Chair Merit Badge.
A woodcut is a play between white and black lines (or, in the case of this cover, green ink and Kraft paper). Though I like seeing a silhouette of a chair, for my woodcuts I like to add some lines to it to mimic light.
I added white lines to the parts of the chair that would be illuminated from a light source coming from the right. Every stick therefore has a white line running from top to bottom.
With the design complete, I traced the outlines of the image onto the wood using carbon paper and a fine pencil. I used a piece of cherry wood that was more or less the correct dimensions for the cover.
As you can see, I didn’t mirror the design before carving it. So much for Rule #1.
Next was removing all the “white” in the image – all the parts that won’t receive ink. This is the most enjoyable part of making a woodcut. After all the planning has been completed, carving the design into the wood is a very pleasurable experience.
A first quick printing reveals any areas that were not completely cut away.
When there is a large white area present, ink sometimes ends up on the high spots that need to be cut away deeper.
I removed the high spots so they wouldn’t receive ink and cleaned up the rest of the chair. With the woodcut printed to my liking, I scanned it in so it could be used for the cover of The Stick Chair Journal.
The Journal will ship this week and I am very happy and proud that my woodcut adorns the cover.
— Rudy Everts, aka Underhatchet