Tag Archives: Multi block print

Narwhal print process

This was an interesting print in many ways. I only started printing a year ago, so each one is a whole new experience for me. This is a woodblock print, cut into blanks of lime wood I bought in Cumbria. The initial inspiration came from a beautiful photograph of a narwhal in the Geographical Magazine. This lead to a bit of research and a lot of sketching.

Using these sketches, I came up with a basic composition of two whales. Initially I had another tail and a tusk in it, but that looked too cluttered.

Before cutting a block, I spent a week sailing in the Canaries, where we had a wonderful sighting of pilot whales, which gave me thoughts on light on the animals.

I wanted to emphasise the underwater look, and that reminded me of a painting I produced a couple of years ago, based on Natasha Brookes’ short film of swimming in frozen lakes in Snowdonia.

Putting all of these together gave me the basis for the print. The background printed from one block first, using a grade colour to try to give a feeling of deep water below a sunlit surface. The image shows the first layer printed above the inked block.

Each whale was then printed from a separate block, so I could vary the density of colour, to heighten the overlap.

One feature of the Snowdonian swimming painting I liked was the hint of schools of fish. Rather than cutting another block, I cut a paper stencil and rolled ink through it onto a blank lime wood block and then pulled a print from that. This smudged the fish a bit, which was probably a good thing.

Putting all of this together gave me the final print, which I have stamped in an edition of eight.


Shelduck 7

The first background layer, printed from the second block. This is a long, multi stage process, which is part of what I like about it. You gradually see the image emerging, and can makes changes at each stage.


This color is meant to form the basis of a reed bed behind the duck. Just a few areas of white cut out for highlights and cloudy effects.


My main concern was how well the second block would register with the first. In particular, it is slightly loose in the frame so I need to push it into the same position each time.


I’m pleased with the result, but every time I add to an image, I think it looked better without the addition. I think the duck sat better in the overall sheet than it does in this more restricted rectangle. Now to leave it to dry and to think.

Shelduck print 1

I’ve decided to start with a print of a shelduck. They are beautiful, but fairly simple in shape. One duck with a twisted neck, based on my Internet sketches.


First a quick sketch of the duck against reeds. Then a slightly more careful sketch on a piece of scrap paper with a rectangle the size of the lino block on it. This was traced off on tracing paper so it could be reversed and transferred to the lino.


I’m going to make two blocks, the first one shown here which will just be the duck. I’ve carved it’s outline carefully and then will remove all the lino from around it. If I use just one block, I think there may be too many layers of ink, and I was having trouble getting my mind around it all.


This basic outline of the bird was transferred to a second lino block by printing it onto a piece of teaching paper, and then printing this wet image onto the second piece of lino. All held in place with the Boswell device, so it should line up… The black area of this second image needs to be removed completely, and what is left them used to print the background, reeds, water etc. Long way to go yet. I have 8 sheets or Zirkal paper, so there will be 8 prints maximum, if I don’t spoil any.