FAQ


Tugboat Printshop carving woodcuts

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.


Carving Woodcut Prints - Tugboat Printshop


Prints are made by applying pressure to paper laid on ink (much like stamping).


Printing the "MOTH" Woodcut by Tugboat Printshop

Golden Yellow Moth Woodcut Print, Woodblock Print by Tugboat Printshop


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.



Paper and Press, Tugboat Printshop Pittsburgh

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?


Carving the "OVERLOOK" Woodcut


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!


Valerie drawing on the OVERLOOK Woodcut


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