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The Woodcut Artist's Handbook: Techniques and Tools for Relief Printmaking (Woodcut Artist's Handbook: Techniques & Tools for Relief Printmaking) 2nd Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1554076352
ISBN-10: 1554076358
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Editorial Reviews

Review

[Review of 1st edition:] How a woodcut is made in clear, easy-to-follow terms... Walker's instruction, in fact, is so clear and well organized that this handbook is perfect for the beginner. (American Artist 200603)

[Review of 1st edition:] Readily accessible to the beginner, who will find the instructions clear and easy to follow. This is a how-to book as beautiful as it is useful. (Katherine R. Lieber ArtScope.net)

[Review of 1st edition:] Can a "how-to" guide captivate even those who don't want to know how to? By all means, yes, if [this book] is any indication.... It's an indispensable guide for those who make art out of the contrast between light and dark. And, it's a sheer pleasure for everyone else, thanks to its many wonderful illustrations. (John Arkelian Artsforum 2006-10-01)

[Review of 1st edition:] The book makes clear the form, so simple at first glance, actually lends itself to a wide variety of approaches. (Jeet Heer enRoute Magazine)

[Review of 1st edition:] This manual's keynote is exuberance... much of its advice is fresh and inspiring -- particularly about the use of power tools and various kinds of resins as engraving surfaces. (Jim Anderson Printmaking Today)

Walker presents this handbook for woodcut and wood engraving printmaking. The volume provides complete information on the process, from selection of wood, proper tools, papers and inks, to different techniques and stylistic approaches. Also included are scores of photographs, figures, and examples of woodcut prints providing a well-rounded understanding of this timeless medium. (Book News 2011-08-01)

This book is well suited to both beginning and advanced woodcut artists as well as those who simply have an appreciation for the form. (Booklist 2011-08-01)

About the Author

George A. Walker is an award-winning wood engraver, book artist and illustrator who teaches book arts and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Ontario. He regularly exhibits his wood engravings and limited-edition books internationally.

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Product Details

  • Series: Woodcut Artist's Handbook: Techniques & Tools for Relief Printmaking
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books; 2 edition (September 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554076358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554076352
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A thoroughly engaging and accessible work, beautifully illustrated with many outstanding examples of woodcuts and wood engravings. Most readers will be itching to try their hand at this craft well before they've finished the book, and George Walker provides plenty of information to help you do just that. The writing is clear and readable, with a good balance of background information, practical tips and instructions, and resources for further reading. Although Walker makes no bones about the difficulty of mastering this craft, he encourages beginners to play and experiment, and gives many pointers to help you avoid the pitfalls. Obviously, his years of teaching experience have given him some insight into what people find trickiest about making printing blocks. He not only provides encouragement, he even gives instructions for repairing any mistakes you might make!

Other sections deal with how to select and care for tools (including how to keep them good and sharp); the pros and cons of different materials for blocks (various kinds of wood, linoleum, other synthetics) and different types of ink; choosing paper; ideas for arranging your workspace; how to make prints by hand or with a press (including instructions for making your own printing press!); and health and safety issues. He also suggests some interesting ways of using your finished prints, in addition to giving tips for mounting and storing them. The illustrations Walker has selected are both interesting and useful: he gives many details about the different artists represented, and the tools, techniques, inks, and papers they use to make their prints. With examples of so many different styles and techniques, you get some idea of the wide range of possibilities to be explored.
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Format: Paperback
Walker has taken woodcut, arguably the oldest of printing techniques, and brought it into the twenty-first century. Albrecht Durer would certainly recognize everything that goes on in a woodcut artist's shop. It's the tools, inks, papers, and especially subject matter that have changed. This book steps clearly through every step, combining very readable text, illustration, and samples of original prints.

The book starts with the block itself. That can be something as homely as a cut slab of potato for a child's effort. It can also be linoleum, a wood plank, or a piece of plywood for regular woodcut. Wood engraving, which differs mainly in the fineness of the cut marks, requires fine, hard surfaces: end-grain boxwood, maple, or cherry in traditional technique, or man-made materials that may be lest costly and more predictable. The rest of the book continues in equally exacting detail: tools and especially their sharpening, cutting with hand or power tools, papers, classic and modern inks, taking the impression with simple or complex presses, and deciding on the edition. Although specimens appear thoughout the book, the last chapter is a gallery that shows the variety of people, techniques, and subjects in contemporary woodcut. Back matter is very helpful: glossary, artists' biographies, bibliography, access to resources, and a helpful index. The resource list may age quickly, as art suppliers come and go, but everything else has lasting value.

There are a few oddities. For example, Walker uses the term "monoprint" to describe images from uniquely inked cut blocks. I can't argue that usage, even though the term is more widely understood to describe prints from inked but uncut surfaces.
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Format: Paperback
George Walker's Handbook is an excellent, enthusiastic introduction to relief printmaking. Although he favors engraving over woodcut he presents the basics of both and then takes the reader on through chapters on materials, tools, the creation of both woodcuts and engravings, papers and ink, printing, and an interesting section on editions. The art is placed in the historical context but he does point out those who are really interested in woodcuts should look at Rebecca Salter's Japanese Woodblock Printing. (I enthusiastically concur. They make a fine pair of books on the subject.)

The book is well illustrated for a small, introductory work. Seek larger format works if you want more breadth for woodcuts. However, he is very even handed and does have a good deal on contemporary work (and writes about it, too). There is a nice glossary, a good basic bibliography (although as Walker says many of the works are out of print), a brief biography of some of the major artists, a list of resoruces and organizations (with some email addresses), and an index.

All in all, for the aspiring woodcut artist this is an excellent introduction. The illustrations alone make it worth having. If you are interested in ukiyo-e, get Salter's book, too.

Sandy
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been doing woodcuts for some time. This book didn't provide any information that I hadn't picked up from other sources. Very little on knife and gouge quality recommendations. For example Japanese knives are really superior in my experience. Also, most illustrations were engravings, not woodcuts. The techniques are quite different. Also, although you can make woodcuts using almost any wood surface, cherry is the best in my experience. Cherry can be found in used furniture such a table leaves. He also discussed the length of cuts (2inches) as an example of using short cuts to make arched forms. A 2 inch cut is a long! cut unless the piece is very large and detail is also large . Disappointing.
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