Laura Boswell ARE – Printmaker

A series following the making of a Japanese woodblock print

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Join me while I push the boundaries of my Japanese woodblock printing and experiment with a new print. There will be lots of help and tips for learning throughout this series as you watch one of my woodblock prints come to life. Remember to check on the homepage for details of my Friday night livestreams if you’d like to join me for Q&A and printmaking chat.

My book Making Japanese Woodblock Prints (Crowood Press) is available from booksellers and gives a comprehensive step by step guide to the process for beginners.

Episode 1 - Welcome to #woodblockwithlaura - Welcome to my new series on Japanese watercolour woodblock printing. There'll be loads of hints and tips along the way as I develop my project from design drawings to finished print.

Episode 2 - Developing the Design Drawing - It's often a winding road from sketch to finished 'design drawing' ready to turn into a print. Here's how I get there (spolier - the image will still keep changing!).

Episode 3 - Raising Woodgrain - Grab a blowtorch and raise some grain! Getting my Yew plank print ready.

Episode 4 - Making a Master Tracing - Time for precision and focus: the master tracing. Everything else is flexible, but the whole registration system for my print hangs on getting this right!

Episode 5 - Assorted Woods for Japanese Woodblock Printing - A look through some of the surprisingly wide assortment of woods I use for Japanese woodblock printing.

Episode 6 - Registration Japanese Style - An explanation of just how I’m going to line up this multiblock print using the Japanese method of registration. In this technique, each block has its own set of registration points cut into the wood alongside the block.

Episode 7 - Mapping out the tracing onto the wood - Keeping those woodblocks lined up right! Transferring the drawing onto the wood ready to cut along with it’s registration marks.

Episode 8 - Cutting Kentos - Making sure my blocks line up - cutting the all important registration slots (kento) to hold the paper when I come to print.

Episode 9 - Cutting the Outline Block - Cutting the outline of a Japanese woodblock correctly is very important: the process that relies entirely on clean cutting for clean printing. This video introduces the hangito knife and how to use it.

Episode10 - Clearing Out Around the Block - A well cut block is essential for clean printing. This episode explains how to clear around the block: how deep, how wide and how to avoid embossing or dirty printing.

Episode 11 - Developing The Line Block - Inspiration for my line block - how themes develop in my work and How to cut an outline block, working with the hangito knife and a 'v' gouge to cut expressive and accurate line detail.

Episode 12 - Developing the Background Blocks - How to add a brush effect woodblock into the design with accurate registration.

Episode 13 - Cutting a Brush Painted Block - Today another film about cutting, this time to suggest brush marks.

Episode 14 - Introducing a Rogue Lino Block into my Woodblock print - You’ll know by now that I like to improvise. I thought it would be fun to throw a lino block into the mix and this episode explains how I’ve managed to get it accurately registered to match the other blocks.

Episode 15 - The Printing Paper for this Print - A chat about the bamboo washi printing paper from Awagami Paper Factory that I am using for this project and a look at the qualities of washi paper.

Episode 16 - Preparing a Damp Pack - How to make up a damp pack for printing paper. I’m demonstrating with newspaper and blotting paper.

Episode 17 - Damping Printing Paper with a Damp Pack - Damping the printing paper properly takes a bit of know how- here I demonstrate with Washi, Western paper and my favourite wallpapering brush.

Episode 18 - Managing a Damp Pack - Bit of a geeky episode - how long you can leave a damp pack, how to manage your prints in the pack, how to stop mould and a warning about ice cream...

Episode 19 - Making Nori - How to make your own rice paste for Japanese woodblock printing.

Episode 20 - A Chat with Carver and Printer Will Francis - Will Francis is an expert in historically accurate carving and printing and he works with artist Jed Henry to make contemporary Japanese woodblock prints using Edo period methods. In this video we chat about the differences in our technique.

Episode 21 - Sharpening with Will Francis - Will Francis shares his expertise in sharpening Japanese woodblock tools.

Episode 22 - Will Francis Cutting a Cherry Block - Expert Will Francis cutting a cherry wood ply block while we talk about his methods and materials.

Episode 23 - Improvisations for the Yew plank - Time to get to grips with my yew plank. I can’t bear to cut it so here’s some improvising with Mylar and a lovely jig made by Mr B (of course).

Episode 24 - Preparing Paints to print - A look through the paints and a bit of colour mixing before we get printing.

Episode 25 - Printing a Sheet of Flat Colour - Probably the trickiest bit of printing in the whole process, large flat sheets of colour take patience and practice!

Episode 26 - Printing a Bokashi Shading - Bokashi - that bleed of colour from dark to light - is probably the most recognisable and evocative techniques in Japanese woodblock printing. Here I am printing a wide bokashi on my large background block.

Episode 27 - Combining Blocks for an Interesting Background Texture - Working with Mylar plastic as a mask for printing my yew log, combining it with the brush printed block for a subdues background.

Episode 28 - Building up the Foreground Rocks - Some classic printing to create the rocky parts of this print. Plenty of layering for a three dimensional effect.

Episode 29 - Creating Textured Grasses - Adding texture to the printing by restricting the amount of rice paste used in printing today. This produces an effect called goma-zuri (sesame printing - a speckled texture like lots of little sesame seeds).

Episode 30 - Printing The Lino Block - Adding the linocut for a very subtle shadow effect so you can see how the two techniques can be combined 🙂

Episode 31 - The Finished Proof and Drying Flat - In this last but one film all is revealed along with advice on drying prints flat. book 'Making Japanese Woodblock Prints' (Crowood Press) is available from booksellers and is a step by step guide for beginners if you'd like a back up guide to this film series. Please support our filming by subscribing to my YouTube channel and telling all your print loving friends about it!