Wood Engraving with Letterpress

Roll up your sleeves and learn the basics of the historic process of wood engraving, a relief process that involves carving endgrain woodblocks. The materials and tools used for this technique, otherwise known as white line engraving, lend themselves to creating large editions of small and very detailed prints. The first few sessions will be spent developing images, transferring them to the block, and carving. The remaining sessions will be spent printing your illustrations along with movable type on a small proofing press. No previous carving or printing experience is necessary, but patience, good eyesight, and a steady hand are very helpful.

What you will learn in this class:

  • Knowledge of the basic history of wood engraving and letterpress

  • Basic knowledge of carving using engraving tools

  • Basic knowledge of printing by hand and using a small proofing press

  • Exploration of combining text and image to create a composition

  • Exploration of line to create the illusion of different values within a composition

Required supplies:

  • Your woodblock will be provided as part of your lab fee, along with tools

Start the term with:

  • Pencil*

  • Number 1 or smaller fine point Micron Pigma pen

  • Printing paper of your choice (paper possibilities will be discussed in class)*

  • An idea

  • Items marked with an asterisk are available for purchase in Fleisher’s school store. Members receive a 10-percent discount on art supply purchases.

Later in the term you will need:

  • While there will be a variety of tools available to share in class, many students opt to order their own personal tool for carving fine lines so they are able to carve outside of class. If I had to recommend only one tool to order for carving, it would be this one: #2 or #4 eliptic tint