Carving Tiger

I moved into my studio in March 2012. I set up my Adana 8 x 5 platen press and began to print. No computer. No digital printer. Just the simplicity of my printing press, tools, inks and paper. This was good for a time but when I recently started to explore woodblock printing I realise the beauty of combining the print world with the digital world. I was initially sketching my images directly onto the tracing paper and then rubbing the reversed side onto the wood but soon realised its limitations - if I needed to re-carve any of these netsuke I would have to sketch from scratch each time as I did with Recumbent Goat. So a few weeks ago I brought my old computer and printer to the studio, which has been a break through and another step forward in getting to grips with this process.


Every month I meet with Lilla and Meg. We carve out time and space to explore print making, stamping, make connections, conversation and share our explorations. I have brought the tiger ready to carve. I know it's going to be the most difficult one to carve so far as the image is so small (5cm h x 4cm w).

I start carving...a couple of hours later I've already taken out some of the tiger's eye. The outlines are unrecognisable. I take it home to finish and know that this little tiger is far too small for my limited experience with Japanese wood carving tools. I have lost the definition from the original sketch.


The good news is I can re-size the original image in Photoshop and print on a fresh piece of tracing paper to transfer to a new block. I notice also that the tools are not as sharp and it's time to use the slipstrop to hone the blades.