I had the amazing opportunity this past month to take classes from Lui Jing, aka Daniel, a visiting artist from China. He taught myself and my lovely friend/roommate Kailey how to do some traditional Chinese woodblock printing. You can check out her awesome zentangle inspired woodcut here.
This process is somewhat like reduction woodcuts, except you can print as many editions as you’d like and in different colors.
These are all the tools needed:
This was a pretty small design, so only one board was needed. On one side I carved the color blocks, and the other the detailed image that was to be printed black.
Here is an image of the detailed side.
Once everything is carved the process moves fairly quickly. The paper is very thin compared to most paper that is used for printing. At the end of our class Daniel gave Kailey and I two rolls of the rice paper for our own use!! I love free paper 🙂
First the paper is dampened by spraying it with a spray bottle of water. Not too wet and not too dry. The color block is printed first. I picked two colors and began by painting one of the shapes. You don’t want to paint all the color blocks at once because the ink is pretty watered down and it can dry out on you. I folded the paper back over the wood, covered it with a piece of newsprint to absorb excess water, and finally a sheet of plastic to protect the paper. Taking the small round tool, I gently applied pressure to the image sweeping it across.
Printing the black on the detailed side of the board
And finally, the finished product