HOW WE MAKE OUR WOODCUT PRINTS!


Tugboat Printshop carving woodcuts


From start-to-finish, every aspect of the making of our woodcut print editions is done 100% by hand.
We draw original images directly onto blocks of plywood and carve the drawings out in low relief using hand tools. We generally use a new block for every color in our woodcuts. Blocks are all printed individually, impressions layering to create the finished image.

Tugboat Printshop Woodcut tools

Tugboat Printshop's Studios in Pittsburgh, PA

To print our finished carvings onto paper, the blocks are evenly rolled up with ink. Paper is placed on the inky woodcut surface and the paper & block are sent together through the press.

"MOTH" Woodcut Print by Tugboat Printshop

Printing the "MOTH" Woodcut by Tugboat Printshop

The heavy, even pressure of the press's roller prints the ink from the block onto paper.



The "MOTH" woodcut is 16" x 22" on Okawara paper, printed from two blocks.


HAND-DRAWN, HAND-CARVED WOODCUTS


Drawing THE MOON Woodcut

Our collaborative drawings start as pencil sketches on blocks that are later drawn over in pen. Woodcarving chisels & knives are used to hand-carve our drawings in low relief. Much care is taken in the wood carving to maintain the original drawing. Pictured is the "
THE MOON" woodcut. Above, as a drawing; below, cut & ready for proofing. More about this now finished artwork HERE!

Carving THE MOON Woodcut by Tugboat Printshop

The sphere of the moon in "THE MOON" key block was jigsawed from the larger block so that we could print two colors simultaneously on the press. (The 'MOON' was inked in red black, the night sky in blue.) A screwdriver key locked the two blocks into registration before printing through the press.



THE MOON Woodcut Print Woodblock Print by Tugboat Printshop (detail)

(ABOVE) A detail of the finished woodcut print "THE MOON". Printed from 2 blocks, more info HERE.



HAND-CARVING TINY WOODCUT DETAILS


"RUBY RED ROSE" wood blocks by Tugboat Printshop


A detail of the "
RUBY RED ROSE" block above shows the tiny recesses that are carefully carved out to create the printable block. Many different techniques can be utilized to bring a drawing to life as a woodcut.


"CRYSTAL SKULL" Woodblock, just inked for printing!



MULTI-BLOCK COLOR WOODCUTS


Sometimes we create many blocks to build color in layers.

The "BONFIRE" print (BELOW) is made from 5 woodblocks. After carving the key block, we transferred the image to 4 additional woodblocks. We then planned & drew & carved each color block accordingly. Multiple blocks layer printed color to create a wide range of hues in the print. We particularly love how each printed color has its own streak of color in the "BONFIRE" sky!



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(ABOVE) All 4 color blocks for the "BONFIRE" woodcut CARVED & (BELOW) All 4 color blocks PRINTED! (WAY BELOW) The finished print with the black key detail printed on all of the color layers.

Bonfire Woodcut Print by Tugboat Printshop (Life of Leisure)..Bonfire Woodcut Print by Tugboat Printshop (Life of Leisure)

Bonfire Woodcut Print by Tugboat Printshop (Life of Leisure)..Bonfire Woodcut Print by Tugboat Printshop (Life of Leisure)

Bonfire Woodcut Print by Tugboat Printshop (detail)



WOODCUTS GALORE!


Tugboat Printshop Color Woodcut Prints

We are always making new woodcut editions! We take a lot of pictures while we are working and post them to our FLICKR and FACEBOOK and TWITTER regularly. For special pre-order intro offers on new prints, join Tugboat's mailing list below. In our neck of the Pennsylvania woods and want to stop by to purchase prints? CONTACT US! We are open by appointment for shoppers.


>>> VIEW 7 YEARS OF WOODCUT PROJECTS IN OUR ARCHIVE!








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