HOW DOES TUGBOAT PRINTSHOP MAKE THEIR WOODCUT PRINTS?
Our prints are made by hand using age-old printmaking techniques.
Our methods evolve through our practice, always maintaining a high standard of quality.
We draw directly onto blocks of 3/4" birch plywood, first in pencil and then in pen.
When our drawings are completed, we carve the images in low relief using sharp hand-tools & knives.
Prints are made by applying pressure to paper laid on ink (much like stamping).
Before editioning, ink colors are mixed. Fine paper is hand-torn to size.
Even layers of oil-based ink are applyed with hand brayers & rollers.
Paper is placed on the inked block, which is then hand-cranked through a printing press.
Pressure transfers ink from block to paper, creating a printed impression.
WHAT MAKES A WOODCUT PRINT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TYPES OF PRINTS?
Woodcut makes a distict printed image, different than a screenprint or digital (giclee) print.
Crispness & clarity of line is very sharp and without pixelation or distortion.
There is a sculptural history in the carving of woodblock drawing.
The woodgrain of the woodblock's surface is a visible element in the printed image!
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A WOODCUT PRINT?
For us, the time it takes to make a print depends on the image complexity & color scheme.
Drawing our images is our longest task.
Once drawn, we carve, draw color blocks, carve, color test/proof all blocks, publish the edition, curate.
Loose estimate, a print like "AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL" took us roughly 4-6 months.
The "OVERLOOK" woodcut (key block above, below) was worked on, off & on, for 3 years!