What and How

What is woodblock printing?

Woodblock printing

Another name for block printing is woodblock printing. This is one of the oldest forms of printmaking methods. Woodblock printing is used to print texts, images, and multiple designs on the paper or fabric. This method is commonly used in East Asia, and it was originated from china back in the 9th century. This printing method was first used in china to print designs on fabric, later it was used to print texts on the paper and got much popular. The images printed on the fabric or paper is done using engraved wooden blocks that have specific designs on it. This printing method remained popular until the latest printing methods started to emerge in the printing industry. This method is still very common in India to print fabrics as this printing method gives the desired fine prints and detailing.

How does woodblock printing works

At first, the design you want to print is a trace on the paper with the help of a simple lead pencil. Another method for this is getting the entire image printed and then detailing those parts of the image traced with the pencil that you want to get printed. After the image is drawn, it is transferred on the wooden, and for that the page is turned face down to get the exact design engraved on the block. Now to get the pencil design transferred on the wooden piece, special burnisher is used with which the back of the drawing is rubbed that transfers the design of the paper on the wooden piece.

Tracing the idea

Tracing your desired design with the pen with help you to see the design carefully before carving it. The carving step of this printing method is quite difficult and complicated; this is why people prefer to keep the wood on the rubber so that the wood gets the desired grip.

Proofing the block

The proofing of the block is the next step of woodblock printing, where a fine line of ink is applied on the glass, and then it is rolled over a flat area by using the rubber brayer. Once the brayer is rolled over the surface, it is then rolled over the block. In this step, the block is carved again if required because here it will be cleared that the carved design is fine or does it requires more carving.

Printing the block

This is the process where the block will print the design. To print the design, the block is dipped into the ink, and then the paper is pressed over the block slightly with the rice spoon. After that the paper is lifted and the block is kept to dry.

Cleaning the wooden block print

This is the ending process of woodblock printing here. The woodblock print is cleared and framed as well. A little water is required to wash out the unnecessary print, and it is done by rubbing the unwanted print slightly. Most of the artist does not do this final step because it is not much important.