About a year ago the gas company was working on our block and they knocked a branch off a maple tree in front of our house. I kept the branch and let it dry out for almost a year. I then cut this small slice as an experiment to see if it would make a good engraving block. It indeed worked out as a good material for wood engraving but it doesn’t hold small details. I would need a bigger block if I ever want to switch to maple blocks (which I may have to do since resingrave has been discontinued). This print is the end result of this experiment.
I wanted to do an engraving of a space ship and this is what I ended up creating. It’s a rather small piece and is probably the last time I will ever be able to engrave into a Resingrave black since they are no longer being manufactured.
These are images of the print in-progress from blank block to inking for the first proof.
This is the second self-portrait engraving I have made. The last one was in back in 2009 and I don’t think I ever editioned the print. In this print I am showing off my tools while seated in front of tiny renditions of other prints I have created over the past couple of years. It’s so meta.
Video of the Printing Process
I created this video documenting the printing of this engraving. Hopefully it won’t get taken down for the music I used:
The fifth and (probably) final engraving in my series of prints based on Italian giallo films. This one is based on Deep Red a.k.a. Profondo Rosso. Possibly the finest giallo ever created. It’s filled with fantastic visuals, a great score, plenty of gore, and a spectacular (and fair) twist at the end.
The print depicts the moment just before Helga Ulmann is killed as Marcus wanders the nighttime streets of Turin.
The print was engraved in resingrave, a material which, I have recently come to discover, is no longer being produced. I am really upset by this as I was just starting to get a handle on the medium.
These photos show the various stages of the engraving from concept to final print.
My series of wood engravings based on Italian giallo thrillers continues with Dario Argento’s “lost” classic, Four Flies on Grey Velvet. A lot of what would gel together and become the giallo masterpiece Deep Red is in its embryonic form in this film. I watched it multiple times while I hashed out ideas for this print and it has grown on me.
As with the other prints in the series, I am trying to compile my strongest memories of the film into a single static image. It’s not necessarily a depiction of a certain scene or attempt to capture the entire narrative. Although, I broke some of my rules here by using photographic source images to create my initial design.
This is the third print I have created depicting imagery from a classic giallo film. So, with three prints, this is officially a print series. Here we have a collection of elements from Sergio Martino’s The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail. The film’s action is divided between London and Athens. Here I have the masked killer attacking his victim as the moon rises behind The Parthenon.
The Movie Trailer
Because I apparently have a ton of free time, I made the world’s first ever movie trailer for a wood engraving:
Behind the Scenes
Click on the images below to see some behind-the-scenes art-making process details:
The second in my series of wood engravings based on my memory of classic giallo films (see Don’t Torture a Duckling). Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is perhaps my favorite Fulci movie with an incredible soundtrack and lots of trippy visuals. This print isn’t so much a plot synopsis as it shows some of my favorite moments from the film including the dreams of the murder, the zombie-like hippies, the bat attack, and, of course, the dissected dogs.
About eight prints into the edition my printing press snapped and several important screw holes were stripped, rendering the press useless. The remainder of the edition had to be printed the old fashioned way: by hand with a wooden drawer knob.
I ended 2020 with the largest wood engraving I have ever created. This print is the first in a series I am creating in which I encapsulate the plot of a giallo movie in a detailed print. This one is based on Lucio Fulci’s legendary film Don’t Torture a Duckling. The movie is about a small Italian village which is plagued with a series of child murders. The movie can get pretty sleazy, but it’s not the usual gore-fest one would expect from Fulci (with one hilariously bad exception).
The block took me many weeks to engrave and I think I have arthritis now, but it was worth it. I also managed to come close to perfecting my laser print transfer process which made seeing my design much easier than usual. Here are some images of the process:
At first I was going to do something about covid lockdown and isolation but quickly realized that just about every hack artist on Instagram was doing some image with masks and microscopic viruses. Most of it was awful. I stuck with the hermit theme and kept thinking of all these stories of people trying to survive wilderness and being forced to eat tree bark. Many of the early sketches had the guy taking a big bite of the tree, but I went with the stick full of fish instead.
This was the first time using my heat transfer tool to get a laser printed sketch on the block. It work well without needing acetone as some tutorials suggest.
Here is the resingrave block about halfway through the engraving process. Working this small is really hard by the way.
Finally, here are the finished prints hanging to dry.
This is another wood engraving based on an ink drawing I created for the Nox Archaist manual. This was engraved in Resingrave plastic engraving medium which offers smooth lines and pretty good control. The main problem with it is that it does not hold the ink of a layout sketch. I started this print by trying to do an acetone transfer (which worked very well on my Ettin print). The resingrave was having none of it.
So, I reverted to the old standard, transfer paper and lots and lots of tracing. Then reimbursing the lines in ink (which, as mentioned earlier, will just smudge on the resingrave block).
It took about a month of hacking away with plenty of COVID-19 booze fuel to keep me going:
Here’s what the (almost) final block looked like:
I always relish that first ink roll. The block will never look this velvety good after this first proof:
After this first proof I added more hairs to Black Phillip. With this print I have finally succumbed to the wood engraving cliche of depicting a hairy mammal (the goat is pretty hairy too). Contact me if you want to buy a print (or use Etsy, I get paid more if you buy direct).