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
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out of date, and in any case would be useless to those of you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
And of course, if you do give this a try ... and
then get stuck - I'm only a 'mouse click' away ...