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'How to Make Woodblock Prints'

(newspaper series)

Back in 1991 I was asked by the Mainichi Daily News to write some columns for a series they were calling 'Japan - How To ...' The idea of the series was to give interested readers enough information to try for themselves some aspect of Japanese arts or crafts.

I wasn't sure if it really was possible to provide enough information on making woodblock prints in the limited time/space that was available, but I was certainly ready to give it a try. My first series (six columns) appeared that spring, and it was followed later in the year by a second set (seven columns).

In the columns of the first set, I introduced a simplified method of printmaking, one that would be suitable for the readers to try making something like a Xmas card. This method dispensed with delicate carving, and instead used 'blocks' of colour.

In the second set, I laid out the traditional procedure of making prints with the 'outlines first, colours later' technique. It's more time consuming and somewhat more difficult to make prints this way, but the finished work can be spectacular.

As the series was intended to be read by people living in the Tokyo area, I also included information on where the tools and supplies could be obtained, but as that information is now out of date, and in any case would be useless to those of you overseas, I have omitted it here. Most art supply shops in large cities around the world now carry at least a rudimentary selection of these tools, and you should be able to find something to get started with ...

And of course, if you do give this a try ... and then get stuck - I'm only a 'mouse click' away ...

Contact Dave

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