How the Prints are Made
As the Woodblock.com website has grown over the years, it has become more difficult to keep everything organized in a coherent manner. The various menu areas on the front page are an attempt to provide logical groupings of the material, but it has not always been possible to get everything to 'fit' properly.
It has been particularly difficult to organize the various pages on the site that show the process of making the prints. There are a number of pages of this type, each one 'living' in the section of the site that features the particular type of print illustrated.
So that's what this page is for - an 'index' providing ready access to pages showing how the prints are made. Some of these are just a simple series of photos; others contain a great deal of accompanying explanation.
I hope you find some of this material interesting and useful ...
Here is a step-by-step sequence of photographs taken as I made a reproduction of a print by Yashima Gakutei. I don't own a copy of the original print, but I do have a Meiji-era version of it, and it is this which I have used for my 'master copy'. The photos show the whole process, starting with the preparation of the woodblock and the hanshita tracing, right through to the finished print. (1998)
Next up is a sequence of scans neatly illustrating the build-up of the colours on a print by Koryusai. There are nineteen stages, and for each one, you can see the colour by itself, and the accumulated colours to that point. A special feature is the addition of a complete set of scans of the blocks themselves, so you can see exactly how each colour came to be applied to the paper for each step. (1999)
In a similar vein is a set of images made as I worked step-by-step through the printing of one of the prints in my third Surimono Album. The design is a familiar one - from Kaigetsudo Dohan, one of the pupils of the famous Kaigetsudo Ando - and dates from the early 1710s. (2001)
Still another set of colour stages is this one from a print design created especially for one of my Surimono Albums, by Gary Luedtke of the USA. It is a wonderful opportunity to see how the colours build up in layers to create a deep saturated effect - quite different from the ukiyo-e style of the preceding examples. (2001)
Yet another set of colour stages, but this one with quite a difference ... 36 of them! This is a wonderful chance to study a very complex series of colour overlays, building up from a clean white sheet of paper, to a fully saturated print. The design is another original created for the Surimono Albums, in this case by Georgia print designer John Amoss. (2002)
The last one of these colour stage sets from my Surimono Albums is perhaps the most 'classical' print I have ever reproduced - a portrait of the kabuki actor Bando Mitsugoro III, by the famous Sharaku. It is much more straightforward than the two previous sequences, but still has plenty to teach us ... (2003)
Here's a 'live' set of postings that was created day by day on the 'Conversations' blog over at Mokuhankan, my print publishing venture, during the carving and printing of a reproduction of a surimono design by Totoya Hokkei. (2006)
There is also a slideshow showing how the multiple colours overlay each other to create the final print.