#Fabriano #Tutorial #Xilografia #woodcut #con #Umberto #Giovannini
We shall now go on to talk about woodcut, the oldest printmaking technique This technique was invented to duplicate an image in many copies.
It’s a simple technique: we start with a block of wood which if completely inked and then printed, the resulting image will have the same size and shape of the block of wood. When we carve the block we will obtain grooves that will come out as white marks
If we want to obtain marks in relief, we need to carve everything except for those marks: that’s why woodcut is labeled as a reduction technique. A woodcut illustration was usually included in a typographic composition and printed in one single stroke. This process allowed to easily print images and texts simultaneously.
There is an interesting technique called woodcut reduction, which became widely used over time. In this technique the artist prints the block several times on the same paper by progressively carving out the image on the block.
This means that we need a high quality paper, because it will have to be printed on up to 7, 10, 15 times and reach its limit only at the very end of the process. For this reason I’m going to use Fabriano Tiepolo. It’s a 100% cotton paper with a great performance for printing.
I’m going to do a woodcut using the reduction technique, starting from a sketch of Alberto Zannoni. This is the original sketch. so it’s oriented in the direction that we want to see in the final print. We will have to transfer it on the block to be able to start working on it.
I’m going to trace the sketch that will get transferred onto the block with an oil based pencil. When tracing an artwork like this, where every detail matters, we have to pay special attention to all the details that we want to translate at the end.
Now my drawing is ready and I will transfer it onto a cherry wood block. I now transfer the drawing on the block by pressing it with this hard pencil, and I make sure to not dent the block during the process.
The drawing at this stage is quite rough, because we need to have just the main marks. We now create the rest of the details with a ballpoint pen, which does not get absorbed by the wood.
Now I can add all those fine details that I wish to see in the final print and that i didn’t draw before, for example the scales of the fish. We trace the border, which will be very important in the finished work. Now we can start with the carving process.
In this technique we will increasingly print from light to dark colours. So when we start we have to know which parts will stay blank until the end. The blank parts will have to be carved out in this first step. The first ink applied has to be very light in colour.
I use an oil based ink, which has great performances with cotton paper. When the ink penetrates the paper, it intensifies the brightness of the cotton fibres. In reduction it’s extremely important to maintain a perfect registration at all times.
The block has to print on paper on exactly the same spot during the whole process. So we will need to mark a corner of the block to be used as a registration. Let’s do the same on the sheet. After the first print we can cut the block again for our second step.
Once the carving has been done we will cover it with a slightly darker ink. We can now proceed to print it. This second print has a perfect registration. We can now carve out the block more has a third step using the same process as before.
We are moving towards darker hues and our details start to become sharper. After the third step Tiepolo paper still looks great. The ink was absorbed in a perfect way. Let’s carve out again and remove further the wide areas. We then prepare our fourth color and we ink again.
In these last steps the block will almost completely be used up, so we have to be very careful in ensuring which details to carve out. After the fifth step let’s use a more intense ink for the finest details.
This is the last step that we will layer over the others. This time we will only print the darker elements. We will apply a darker ink in order to make the finer details of the whole image stands out We are now going to print the last stage
Fabriano Tiepolo paper has been put to a hard test, and the result is still exceptional.