Block printing is a form of art that has been used for over 2,000 years. The process of block printing includes carving a wood block, or a piece of linoleum or even rubber. Once the image is carved onto the medium of choice, it can be printed onto paper or fabric with ink. It’s gaining popularity among hundreds of artists who are creating prints, postcards, notebooks, pillow cases, and much more out of their carvings. This post will explain more about block printing and also feature some amazing block printing artists along with their work.
Block Printing as a Form of Art
The Benefits of Block Printing
One of the most appealing aspects of block printing is that you can make hundreds, even thousands of prints from the image that you have carved. Therefore, this was a great method of art to use back in the day, when photocopiers and computers didn’t exist. Whether it’s words, a design, or an image of something specific, artists are able to carve out anything that they want. Once the carving is complete, the hardest part is done. That carving can then be printed onto anything, using different colors of ink. The artist can create prints out of their carving, t-shirts, tablecloths, and more.
Block Printing Techniques
There are three ways that the carved image can be transferred onto the preferred source once complete. These methods include stamping, rubbing, and pressing. With stamping, the paper or fabric is placed down on a flat surface, and the carved block is placed over it, ink side down. Weight is applied evenly for a clean print. The second method, rubbing, is when the block is placed on a flat surface, ink side up. The paper is then placed on top of it and rubbed with a tool to transfer the ink from the block to the paper. The third and final block printing technique is pressing. For this method, a machine is used that mimics the act of stamping, but with much more force. Therefore, it’s usually a more effective way of printing due to the force used.
Lili Arnold Studios
Now that you know a little background about block printing, here are some amazing artists that practice this art form. One popular artist is Lili Arnold, who runs Lili Arnold Studios. She is based out of Santa Cruz, CA. Arnold fell in love with printmaking during her years at school in the art department. Her work is inspired by the wild, especially wild plants. She prints on both acrylic paper and also fabric. Arnold prints many desert plants such as cactuses and succulents. You can find her art for sale here.
Viktoria is an artist living on an island outside Gothenburg, Sweden. In addition to block printing, she also does animation and illustration. Åström creates many prints from her rubber carvings. She is especially fond of animals and insects. Åström uses unique color combinations to create beautifully unique pieces of art. You can view all of the prints that Åström has for sale on her Etsy shop.
Emily Louise Howard
The final block printing artist that will be featured in this post is Emily Louise Howard. Her business name is The Diggingest Girl. Howard is a Northern Kentucky-based printmaker, illustrator, and artisan. Many of her prints are inspired by nature and women. In addition to paper, Howard also prints on wood and fabric items such as pencil cases. You can browse through her artwork here.