Art Workshop Reviews

Woodblock Printing - it's all in the Registration!

Woodblock print by Rosanna Jurisevic - Sleepy HarryWoodblock print by Rosanna Jurisevic - Sleepy Harry

I’ve just spent a very pleasant four days learning about Japanese Woodblock Printing at Warringah Printmakers Studio In Manly Vale, NSW with Rosanna Jurisevic.

Warringah Printmakers Studio is a community based, non-profit organisation offering classes, workshops, studio access, regular exhibitions and a variety of exciting and innovative projects for artists with Studio membership.

Rosanna, our very knowledgeable teacher, willingly shared her experience with her students and was able to guide students through a range of different print making processes. From Japanese woodblock printing, creating collagraphs, etchings, intaglio to relief printmaking, Rosanna knows her stuff!

Four days, as you can imagine, is nowhere near enough time to learn all the intracies of Japanese Woodblock Printing – which would traditionally take students many, many years as apprentices to master print makers - but what I did come away with was a very important principle in printmaking.

IT’S ALL IN THE REGISTRATION!

Etching by Rosanna Jurisevic - Berg13Etching by Rosanna Jurisevic - Berg13

Get this right and you can create multi-coloured prints without fear of not being able to line up the different layers or to create keylines – outlines that define the boundaries of all the shapes in the image.

Imagine carving out one wood block for each colour used in a print – you then have the problem of how to line up areas of an image so that each colour is applied in the correct location. The lining up of the blocks in each step of the printmaking process is called ‘registration’. Without proper registration each block may end up in the wrong place ruining hours of carving work.

So here’s an explanation on how to set up your woodblock for the correct registration. The method Rosanna teaches is the traditional Kento Registration method. This can also be used with lino printing – anything that requires a multi-step process of applying layers of colour, using multiple blocks/plates or a keyline to a print.

A set of Woodblock cutting tools contains a chisel and a knife tool.A set of Woodblock cutting tools contain a chisel and a knife tool.

  1. Place your drawing that’s been traced onto drafting film face down and on the right hand bottom corner pencil in the letter ‘R’ – to remind you that this is the right-hand corner of your drawing.

    Note: The actual size of the drafting film represents the exact size of the printmaking paper that your image will be printed onto and shows the correct placement of your image on the paper.

  2. Place the drafting film 1cm from the edge of the woodblock and tape it down.
  3. Cutting GuidelinesA Kento mark is traditionally always placed on a horizontal edge to help keep control of printmaking paper when it’s wet.
  4. Now colour in the edge of the drafting film on the right hand side corner and continue onto the block of wood to form a right-angle shape.
  5. On the bottom of the paper on the horizontal edge two thirds along from the right hand edge repeat – colour in the drafting film and the woodblock.
  6. Using the chisel tool, create cutting guidelines at the each end of the marks you have drawn. 
  7. Corner kento registrationWith the flat side of the chisel tool against the edge of the right angle, using a rocking motion slide the chisel across the horizontal lines.
  8. When you have finished making the cuts, then go back and start clearing, with the bevel side of your chisel down against the wood block. Use a slicing motion and start from the outside edge where you placed the cutting guide marks.

When you transfer your design use your Kento Registration for the correct placement on your woodblock.

Transfer your designWhen printing, the corner of the printmaking paper is placed exactly against the right hand corner of the Kento guide and then aligned along the horizontal guide without touching the inked area of the block. Once the printmaking paper is correctly placed into the Kento marks, then you let the paper float down so that it meets the inked area of the woodblock ready to burnish with a baran.

To join Rosanna in a workshop, visit the Warringah Printmakers Studio website for information on classes.

Or visit Rosanna's website to view more of her beautiful woodblock prints.

Stephanie Champion

 

 
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