For my friends Derrick and Jackie
The history of the medium of wood engraving evolved from the oldest printing technique, woodcut—which, in Western culture, goes back to the fifteenth century. A wood block is cut from a smoothed plank cut longitudinally from the tree trunk so that the grain runs in parallel lines to the block.
Once the design has been established by cutting away the wood around the areas that will be printed, the block is inked with a small roller called a brayer. To print the block, a moistened piece of paper is placed on top of the block, along with a protective layer, called the tympan, and then put through the printing press. Alternately, a circular tool called a baren or even a spoon or the palm of the hand can be used to create enough pressure to print the inked block. Continue reading