[remember that if you're opting to do words or an image that has a direction you'll need to reverse it prior to tracing it onto your block]. If you're just starting out, bold and graphic images will be the easiest to carve. Images with a great deal of pattern work best on harder blocks [not the soft carve pictured above] and requires time and patience to get the detail you'll want. Start slow and get your bearing before branching out.
Create tracing paper by using a normal pencil and rubbing the back side of your image completely covering the area that you'll be tracing [the pencil will act as a carbon copy] carbon paper can be purchased as well at art supply stores if you want to skip this step.
Tape or hold image to block and trace your pattern onto block.
[after removing, I sometimes go back over with pencil directly onto block to clarify areas that didn't come out clear]
Decide which areas will have ink/color and which areas will be carved away. Remember anything that you carve away will remain the color of your paper.
Carve your block! keep blade away from fingers, carve away from your body and remember safety. The blades are sharp and will cut you. With kids younger than 13 you'll need to sit with them and help each stroke.
Dust off all of the little crumbs. Rinse quickly under water if needed but dry well before applying ink. Roll your ink out thinly with your brayer and apply to your block. With a few tests you'll decide how heavy your ink coverage will be.
Use the back of a wooden spoon to apply pressure to the paper and engage the ink. Again, with a few tests of ink coverage and pressure you'll discover the correct ratio to get your desired look.
Gently peel your paper off your block and let dry!
Way To Go! You're a printmaker now!!
with kids under the age of 8 you might carve the blocks for them and turn them loose with the ink portion. They're more interested in the ink portion and you'll save a few tears from cut fingers.
If you want a really clean, with no "noise" or tiny lines, go back through and carve out the desired areas. I think a little noise looks quite nice though and adds some texture.
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