Test printing a new print!

Somewhere among the craziness of the holiday season I managed to finish carving a new image. It was derived from a photo I took from a construction site in North London in the early summer.

It is hard to see from the image but the grey tones are actually made up on hundreds of solid black lines of varying width. Optically it's very effective, even from quite close up. Our brains automaticially blend the little bits into solid colours. This is the same method that computer screens and injet prints use. The key difference being that while computers can create an amazingly high resolution, the human hand and eye can not. However, the interesting part is what can be described be a seemingly low resolution image.

Here are some fun facts about this image. It took me roughly an hour to carve an area the size of my hand (200 square centimeters). The size is 60cm x 125cm = 7500 cm square. So... I estimate it took me 37.5 hours to carve. I can't carve 8 hours strait without losing my mind so this is the best way I can estimate. 

But there's more numbers I can crunch! There are 246 lines in the whole drawing and they all run the 125 cm length of the peice. So is you lay each on end the print can be reduced to 307.5 meters of carving

So if it takes 37.5 hours to carve 307.5 meters a little number juggling tells me that I carve at 122 hours per kilometer..... That number sounds kinda familiar...

I carve at nearly the exact inverse of highway driving speed!

The final print will be mounted on wood and lightly painted with water colours to give it a look like late 18th century painted black and white photographs. Here is the plate up close to you can see all the lines. 

A funny side note, because of the way computer image (jpeg) compression works it has a really hard time knowing what to do with all the lines of the image. Invariably my prints always end up looking like zebras. 

The Woodcut Workshop Logo

One of the first things any beginning enterprise needs is a logo. Thankfully being a woodcut print making enterprise, the Woodcut Workshop can make it's own! Here is the story of how I created the logo on the top left of the website. 

I always find the initial design is easiest in pencil. You can fly through a ton of ideas really quickly and narrow in on the one that stands out the best. Many of my prints begin the exact same way - a crappy sketch with just enough information to record the core ideas. 

Now that I have a layout I like, it's time to refine. Designing good looking typography is hard enough on its own,  drawing it in reverse is like running a marathon on your hands. Thankfully computers are great at doing work like this! Here is a paper print out glued onto the wooden printing plate (hidden). I decided to draw the chisel in free hand because I already had a design I liked.

Carving finished! It took me about two hours. 

The very first print is done. You can see some areas where I didn't quite carve enough like the line under "The" and the "d" in Woodcut. Thankfully its really easy to carve more wood away - adding it back is a different story. 

Done! I cleaned up some of the areas mentioned above but deliberately left some areas rough. This is a hand made image and I want it to look the part. I could probably use a ruler and magnifying glass to make it look just as accurate as a computer can - but then why not save the effort and use the original printout? A computer could never create the lovely inaccuracies like: ink stipples, blobs and other imperfections that make this logo look much more unique and authentic than a computer graphic.