The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail - Wood Engraving

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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:

Lizard in a Woman’s Skin - Wood Engraving

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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.

Don’t Torture a Duckling - Wood Engraving

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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:

The Hermit - Wood Engraving

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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.

Hermit Heat Transfer

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.

Hermit Carving

Here is the resingrave block about halfway through the engraving process. Working this small is really hard by the way.

Hermit Drying Rack

Finally, here are the finished prints hanging to dry.

The Witch - Wood Engraving

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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).

The Ettin - Wood Engraving

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This wood engraving is based off of the drawing I created for the Kickstarter game Nox Archaist. It was engraved in to an old block of end-grain maple. The process started by transferring the ink drawing to the block using acetone and a laser printout. This seemed to work remarkably well. It held up despite my ink wash on top of it and my hands rubbing against it during cutting.

This is what the block looked like when I first inked it up:

The prints never look this crisp when they get to the paper. Some day I will figure all this out.

Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid - Wood Engraving

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This print has nothing to do with the movie of the same name. This started as a sketch of a large man with a lobster bib and it morphed into this. I wanted to try engraving in maple again after years of using resingrave. I’m hear to say end-grain maple stinks. The lines are rough and it prints very unevenly. But never mind that. Buy this print!

Profile #1 - Wood Engraving

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This year (2019) I forced myself to just site down and make a wood engraving with the last tiny block of resingrave I had in my studio. This is just an image of a random guy, not anyone in particular. This is the first edition that I was able to print on my cheap Chinese book press. Not the most perfect system—the blacks are a little salty—but it worked out well enough.

Bonefist - Wood Engraving

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This tiny wood engraving started out as a practice block. I was rendering the bones of a foot. I got bored with that and drew a dude shaking his fist. Inspiration! Anyhow, this is a small wood engraving printed on sekishu rice paper. I have been having a heck of a time getting engravings to print sharply these days so these prints are a little saltier than I like. I’m on the lookout for any advice on hand-printing wood engravings. Leave a comment, commentators!

Zeus and Hera Wedding Invitation - Wood Engraving

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This is a wood engraving that I created for my brother’s wedding invitation in 2002. He got married in Athens, Greece so I wanted to do a Greek god themed image.Here we have Hera and Zeus, with Zeus cutting the cake with his lightning bolt. The actual invitation had a translucent sheet in front of the print with some metallic lettering and an olive leaf motif.