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Yoshitoshi's 'Hazy Night Moon' (Kumasa) detail 
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 pm
Posts: 59
Post Yoshitoshi's 'Hazy Night Moon' (Kumasa) detail

I love Yoshitoshi's 'Hazy Night Moon' (Kumasa) design from his 'One Hundred Aspects of the Moon' series. I do truly love it since the first time my eyes lay upon it.

As this one was the print that introduced me into mokuhanga, I've always wanted to carve it. I finally was able to create a proper hanshita so I decided to give it a try. But, because of the size (oban) and the high prices of both paper and woodblocks, I thought of making a "try" at first. So, I pick up a region of the design and carved it 1:1 on my half-koban paper size.

This composition (which has less colors than the full-size) consists in the following colors shorted by blocks (a pair of hanshita for each block as they are half the woodblock size):
  • Keyblock <-> Green (keyblock 2)
  • Background <-> Nunomezuri (cloth printing)
  • Yellow <-> Kazaruzi (embossing)
  • Skin 1 + Skin 3 <-> Skin 2 + Skin 4
  • Blue <-> Red
  • Tan + Orange <-> Violet
  • Light blue <-> Shomenzuri (front printing)

Nunomezuri parts are the background, the robe at neck and the belt.
Kazaruri parts are the handgrip of the sword.
Shomenzuri parts are the eyes, the scabbard and the geometric tan-colored pattern of the robe (which I'm still deciphering).

So, the print would be 5 blocks (1 woodblock for keyblocks and 2 two-faces woodblocks for the other colors)

I've some issues while carving but the result is OK (not perfect, but OK). The sumi-e paper I used in my injection printer bleed a bit so the lines ended wider. I tried using the hanshita-shi but the bleeding was even worst. Next time I'll go to a print-shop to print it with a laser printer.

Also, as I complained before, the sumi-shi kept in the way of the hangito thus making truly painful to follow the fine lines. The worst part was, obviously, the most delicate: the facial hair. I had to clean up the block and to carve what I could by comparison on the fly... Of course, when I get enough money to buy all the items I would need to do this print (bigger brushes, a "medium"-force baren, oban size woodblocks, a paper better for making the hanshita-e, proper sized hosho, proper pigments, etc.), I would try reproduce all the lines as perfect as I can, and with a laser printed hanshita-e.

Now, to the meat.

This is a composition of the keyblock just before removing the hanshita-shi and the test print after cleaning up the block. I didn't use the inked woodblock because I wasn't able to photo it...

Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:47 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 pm
Posts: 59
Post Re: Yoshitoshi's 'Hazy Night Moon' (Kumasa) detail
What I've learned so far (on top of what I already knew):
1 - There's no need to stab the woodblocks... Just keep the knifes sharp as a hell always, don't let them go blunt before sharpening.
2 - An indirect light (your water reservoir or my new LED lamp) is a *must* if you don't want to end blind as a mole.

I had to make some changes on the blocks order because I forgot to adapt the overlay for the woodblock size (I designed it for my old woodblocks) so, from top to bottom and left to right...

A-B front) Background <---> Tan-colored robe + Orange cap band
Nunomezuri + Karazuri <---> Violet

A-B back) Skin 1 <---> Light blue
Yellow <--> Shomenzuri

C-D front) Green (keyblock 2) <---> Skin 2
Keyblock 1 <---> Skin 3 + Skin 4 (I cut wrongly the kento marks... I will figure out how to fix it... somehow)

C-D back) Nothing <---> Blue
Nothing <---> Red

I carved the contour of the shomenzuri to avoid some problems with the pasted sumi-shi over the hanshita-shi (for the scabbard pattern). Now, I'm on the head band of the green color and then, to start cleaning the 2nd keyblock.

Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:34 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 pm
Posts: 59
Post Re: Yoshitoshi's 'Hazy Night Moon' (Kumasa) detail
And update :-)

I've been removing so much wood just for learning how to get a flat surface for when I try it at full size. It's been a nightmare some blocks. I tried on "along-the-grain" direction and "across-the-grain" direction. In some blocks, "along" didn't matter the "sense", the wood would come out in huge chips and had to cut only "across". On others, "across" ended with chips all over the place. What am I doing wrong? I'm not sure but the tools were truly sharp and tried different angles of attack with no luck :-(

Here's the block I'm carving right now (yellow color). I made a mistake here (well, in all kyogos to be truthful): I feared that the marker might spread the sumi ink so I applied it lightly... which after pasting, made some zone invisible... and I now have been reprinting missing zones. When I realized? When I cut a part of the violet which needed to be printed...

The two keyblocks and one print in curled copy paper. They match perfectly, which is a huge relieve because I do some stupid shortcut: I pasted the headband pattern on the kyogo and pasted both at the same time, instead of pasting the headband *after* cleaning up the block with just the kyogo.

Another thing I did wrong was I applied the glue too thin and uneven... I feared from the last woodblock I cut on which I used too much glue and had many problems erasing it so I thinned it with water... I didn't mix them properly and ended with some parts of the kyogo *not* pasted to the block... so while carving... I was loosing the paper... a truly nightmare... and cut a part of the design by mistake. And... here it goes the problem is the solution: my kyogo loosed back ink on printing in this 2nd keyblock, so I had a perfect impression of the zone to be restored in the wood patch :-)

I have to fix now the violet block (a part that went removed by mistake) and finish the yellow I'm in. Then, only 5 will be left: the 3 skins, blue and red :-)

I've a question though. The "cloth printing", I've read that the silk cloth must be "place over" and "glued to" the block (ones saying the first, others saying the later). My guess is that it should be "glued" (from comparison of prints with that technique) but I've no clue what kind of "glue" should be used for that matter.

Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:31 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 pm
Posts: 59
Post Re: Yoshitoshi's 'Hazy Night Moon' (Kumasa) detail
And, at last, an update.

All blocks have been carved. As I wrote before, I learned meanwhile that I didn't need to stab the wood... which ended with easier and faster cleaning of woodblocks. Hence, the first blocks were *undercarved* (the 2 keyblocks and some other colors).

'Cause I'm going off holidays, I don't have time to recarve them as needed, so I did a test print run.

Here's the photo of the last carved woodblocks:

A) Yellow (new) and skin 1

B) Blue-Red
C) Skin 2 - Skin 3 + Skin 4

I messed up with the "skin3+skin4" block (had the mind on other place) and forgot to re-place the hanshitas. Well, I think it can be printed without any major problem... Hope so.

And here's the test print in kizuki (6 monme, ~37 g/m2) paper. It lacks the 4 skin colors and the *nunomezuri* (cloth printing), had no time... But it has the embossing and the front printing (though I'm null at photoing it...)


Side of the test print, there are my first two attempts at making a baren coil of 0.5 mm nylon: the first try (the big one) and the second (the smaller). The second is smaller because I just wanted to reduce the amount of nylon on the center and reduce the number of knots there. Why did I do this? Well, to relax from the the stress of lacking-glue pasted hanshitas: carving some woodblocks were a truly hell. I do prefer fighting against too much rather than having to carve a block without the hanshita pasted on...

It's clear the coil has only one *end* (the burnt one). The "center" is just the middle of the thread folded. These coils would be 8-threads but in reality they're just 4 folded threads (to avoid knotting the very center). And just two thread crossing as exes with no knotting at all (due to the shape they are hold on by themselves).

And that'd be all for now. Enjoy holidays and I will come back with a recarved blocks, a complete test print and a proper baren coil (if I discover what kind of knot they used) on New Year.


Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:57 am
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