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Woodblock size for a paper size 
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 pm
Posts: 59
Post Woodblock size for a paper size
Hello,

I'm going to talk/ask about the phisical woodblock size related to the paper size. This question arise as a needing to optimize the no-so-cheap-at-all cherry woodblock.

Probably, you'll end up adapting the paper size to the woodblock because the woodblocks aren't offered in a custom-size everywhere. But, when you're lucky enough, you might ask for custom sizes or cut-down a block to a custom-size. So, that's the case: I can make a custom-size.

Now, the real question is what should be its size. That question, could be splitted in two different (but related) questions:

1) Do you use the same distance from border to kento marks in all prints? And what is it?
2) What's the margin of the printed part in the paper?

One easy way to answer this question arised to me as I was trying to optimize the block: just use the same size of the paper. Why the same? Because you only need to slide the paper from one corner of the block so you have both space for the kento marks and some paper out of the block to remove it after printing.

That way, sliding for example 0.5 mm, you have space for the kento. But you also have to remember that that means that you can't print in two of the sides of paper in the same 0.5 mm (carving the block to the very border). So, the top+{left or right} or the bottom+{left or right} [depending on the orientation of the hanshita], would be left unprinted.


From that, I'd like to know what are the margins you left for kento and the woodblock size for a paper size.

Sincerely,
Franz


Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:05 pm
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Location: Tokyo, Japan
Post Re: Woodblock size for a paper size
Hi Franz ...

Franz Rogar wrote:
Probably, you'll end up adapting the paper size to the woodblock because the woodblocks aren't offered in a custom-size everywhere.

This is actually the reverse of what I do - wood can be cut to any convenient size, but the paper does not have that flexibility. It is only available from the makers in a few traditional sizes.

For example, when I was planning the Ukiyoe Heroes series with Jed Henry last summer, the most important consideration for the size of the prints was how efficiently they could be cut from a larger sheet of paper. I decided to use the 'o-biru' size of paper, and this allowed me to get 6 individual prints from each sheet. If we had decided to make the Heroes prints just a single centimeter wider, we would only have been able to get four prints from each sheet, thus wasting a huge amount of (very expensive) paper. So in the traditional field, it all begins with the size of paper from the maker, and you then decide what prints you can cut from that. Only then, do you arrange for blocks to be ordered that will be wide/long enough to make such prints.

All my blocks are custom-ordered in dimensions that match the prints I am planning to make.

Quote:
1) Do you use the same distance from border to kento marks in all prints? And what is it?

There is no standard for this. In my own case, although I will keep this at a standard distance for all the prints in a particular series, it will differ from series to series.

Quote:
2) What's the margin of the printed part in the paper?

Modern printmakers typically use quite large margins, in which they will sign/number their prints. Traditional prints typically have very small margins, or none at all. I issued many of the prints in my Surimono Albums in 'bleed' format, with all the surrounding margins trimmed off.

I'm a bit confused by your question about the positioning of the registration marks, but I think your own confusion comes from your belief that the paper and the wood have to be the same dimension. This is not the case. Start with the paper dimension, then decide where the image will be located within that piece. Then prepare a blank block that will fit ...


Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:40 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 pm
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Post Re: Woodblock size for a paper size
David Bull wrote:
Hi Franz ...

Hi David,

Thanks for your answers. Here are some notes to them.

David Bull wrote:
Franz Rogar wrote:
Probably, you'll end up adapting the paper size to the woodblock because the woodblocks aren't offered in a custom-size everywhere.

This is actually the reverse of what I do - wood can be cut to any convenient size, but the paper does not have that flexibility. It is only available from the makers in a few traditional sizes.

[...]

All my blocks are custom-ordered in dimensions that match the prints I am planning to make.

That's what I (tried) to mean: if you can get 25x20cm or 20x16cm woodblocks instead of 22,5x17,5cm (~koban paper size) because that's the blocksize "they" sell, then, you probably are not going to ask the seller to cut the bigger and waste the wood. So, then, you're not going to print in koban size but a bigger one. That's what I meant with adjusting the paper size to the print.

Of course, you can cut down the woodblock but, probably, you wouldn't (it's more expensive). In your case, I know you would because you also try to keep the historicity of the technique (paper sizes are more important). So, I was refering to the public in general.


David Bull wrote:
Quote:
2) What's the margin of the printed part in the paper?

I'm a bit confused by your question about the positioning of the registration marks, but I think your own confusion comes from your belief that the paper and the wood have to be the same dimension. This is not the case. Start with the paper dimension, then decide where the image will be located within that piece. Then prepare a blank block that will fit ...

There's a confusion in here. I used the "same size" as example to calculate easily the kento marks place and also to calculate the woodblock size. In the attached image, there's an example.

Attachment:
File comment: Example of same-size block-paper
block-paper.png [10.13 KiB]
Not downloaded yet


Basically, just "sliding" the paper, we have enough room for kento marks and to avoid cutting the limits of the "print" in the border of the block. In case we use a 1 cm wide margin, the border of the "print" would be 7 mm inside the woodblock border. All this was just an example.


More expecifically, just to have a real example if you want, what's the blocksize and position (distance from woodblock border) of the kentos in your Ukiyo-e Heroes series? It's just curiosity.

Thank you very much for the information (and fast answer).

Sincerely,
Franz


Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:36 pm
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Post Re: Woodblock size for a paper size
Franz Rogar wrote:
More expecifically, just to have a real example if you want, what's the blocksize and position (distance from woodblock border) of the kentos in your Ukiyo-e Heroes series? It's just curiosity.

Here's a photo of the block set for the most recent print in the series: The Hero Rests (they are actually carved on both sides ...)
Image

Click for a (quite large) closeup, and take a look at the key block in there. The wood is 250mm high, and 180mm wide. The registration marks are cut into the wood about 8mm in from the edges. The paper size is 230mm high, and 175mm wide, and because the white margin on each print will be 9~10mm, the image size is 210mm x 155mm. (You can see where the image area is on the keyblock, because this print has a black border outline). .

So the paper actually sticks out a tiny bit over the width of the block, but falls within the length of the block at the top. You can see this most clearly in the block at lower right, as it still has much of the kyogo visible even though the cutting is finished.


Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:49 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 pm
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Post Re: Woodblock size for a paper size
Thank you very much for the information and the wonderful photo.

I was able to match your proportions to my Taketori series but ended a bit smaller. In the attached photo, there's a digital print (my drawing scanned at work [-_-] with the text seals) of the new smaller size (with your paper proportions) and the older bigger (with DIN-A series paper size).

Attachment:
File comment: Taketori series - new vs old size
new-size.jpg
new-size.jpg [ 100.12 KiB | Viewed 20993 times ]


I think the new size improves a lot the design. Not only because it looks nicer but I feel the empty space/printed space ratio is better (I'm from a generation used to measure everything).

I hope my carpenter finishs soon the cherry blocks to start carving again (no more cheap shina plywood, of which I'll talk about in the proper section).

EDIT: the seals are of the same size, it's just a visual effect one looks bigger than the other.

Sincerely,
Franz

PS: and, of course, I thank you very much all your posts, even though I don't reply with a "thank you" each of them, just to avoid a quality degradation of the information in the forum.


Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:14 pm
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Post Re: Woodblock size for a paper size
I think you will find this smaller size to be a bit easier to handle, both in terms of registration, and of getting the colour onto the surface of the paper.

One quick question - do you intend the bamboo stem to extend right to the edge of the paper at the top? If so, then you will need to make your print a bit larger than this, and trim it after printing. You will find that you can't print cleanly right to the edge of a sheet. Just the same as with commercial offset printing, a 'bleed' must be produced by printing something larger, then trimming it down.


Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:33 pm
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Post Re: Woodblock size for a paper size
You're right. The registration was hard with the ~A4 paper size. This new size have, even before starting, proven to be more easy to work with.

Yes, I do intent the bamboo steam to extend to the top. Thanks for the advise but I was aware of it because that problem arised in the "big-sized" one. I've cut the hosho with enough room to print, at least, 2 cm over the edge and also the woodblock is prepared for such (that's because I follow your size/ratio). That's the great thing that your sizes have: I can print right till to top/bottom/one side edges of the paper directly.

The sizes I'll be using for Taketori series are:

Woodblock: 20x15 cm
Kento margins: ~8 mm
Paper: 18x14,5 cm
Print: 16x12,5 cm

Now, to think what to do with the shina plywood I still have... maybe I'll use them for marquetry or as cutting matt... don't know.

Off-topic: I'll make my first "sizing" of paper (both normal and hosho) next week as I do want to finish some designs for the series this weekend. We'll see how it ends... Probably with all papers glued altogether or warped in the trashbin :lol: Or stiff enough to be used as knives.


Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:02 pm
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