Introduction: How to Carve a Picture on a Woodblock

About: Hello! My name is Kenson Lai and I'm from the US! I was really glad to find this fantastic website, because I can share my passion - woodcarving - with lots of people here!

I have been fond of carving versatile pictures on woodblock since childhood. When I was 7 years old, my parents presented me with a special woodcarving set so that I could carve pictures of my own. Since that time, woodcarving has become my hobby, which helps me relax and distract from everyday problems. Let me share my experience with you now and teach you the main steps of this captivating process.

Step 1: Supplies

You will need a special set for woodcarving consisting of the following items:

· Lead pencil

· Woodblock (preferably the one made of birch, poplar or pine)

· Sheep of paper for drawing

· Special woodcarving gouges

· Bone fold or curved burnisher

· Rubber mat that won’t slip during the work

· Rubber brayer

· Water-based ink for printing

· A piece of glass (like those we have in photo frames)

· Wooden spoon for rice

· Special paper for block printing

· Putty knife

Step 2: Draw the Sketch

Take a piece of white paper and a lead pencil you have prepared and draw the sketch of the picture you are going to carve. If you cannot make a sketch yourself, you are welcome to print it on your computer and then cover the boundaries with a lead pencil.

Step 3: Transfer the Picture to the Woodblock

Put the sketch on the woodblock, press it firmly with your hands and rub the back of the picture with a bone fold or carved burnisher. If you do everything correctly, you will see that the picture will transfer to the woodblock. After that, make the transferred picture clearer with the help of a pencil or a black pen

Step 4: Start Carving!

Now, it’s high time to start carving! Personally, I like this step most of all, since it feels with me with excitement and impatience. So, take a rubber mat or another non-slippery material and put the woodblock on it. Take a putty knife and start cutting the image. Make sure your hands have enough place to rest and make sure other parts of your body are in a safe position. Otherwise, it is easy to get hurt, because the knife is really sharp.

There is no need to carve deeply, because this will take much time. A light scratch will be enough to make the picture visible.

Step 5: Use Tools to Carve the Picture

You can use the V-shaped and the U-shaped gouges to make the picture more intricate. The details and small parts of your picture should be cut with the small U-shaped gauge that is usually included into the set as well.

Step 6: Proof the Picture With the Printing Ink

Having carved the picture, it makes sense to proof it. Take the ink for printing you have in the woodcarving set, apply a short line of it on the sheet of glass. Now, you can spread it on the glass sheet with a rubber brayer (just as it is shown at the photo). After that, roll the rubber brayer covered with ink on the woodblock with your carved picture. If there are places that are intensively covered with ink, you can slightly carve them with a knife again to get rid of extra ink.

Step 7: Print the Block

Now that you picture is ready, I can offer you to print the block. This will make your picture look fantastic, unique and unusual. Get the paper of the right size and apply ink with the rubber brayer onto the block again. Then carefully put the paper on to the woodblock, take the wooden spoon for rice and gently press the paper to the board. Make sure the paper doesn’t slide off. Repeat the action once again, moving from the center of the picture towards its ends. You will soon notice the ink design through the paper.

Step 8: Check the Result

Carefully lift the piece of paper with your hands clean to check the way the picture has transferred.

Step 9: Let the Print Dry and Frame It!

Leave the print to let it dry for several hours. Now, it is ready! Nice work! You can hang the picture just as it is or place it into the frame to hang it on the wall or to present it to your friend or loved one! Good luck!