How It's Done

Wood engravings are relief prints. I start with a block of end grain hard wood and usually draw directly on to it from life.

At the Press
The image is then carved into the wood block, leaving a surface in relief on which I roll a thin layer of ink. The inked block is then pressed on to paper. I’m lucky enough to have an Albion printing press in my studio on which I can print an edition of the engravings, and sometimes print as many as 100, each one numbered, and no more than the 100 and possibly 10 proofs will be made.

I’ve been carving into wood blocks for 25 years and I think I’m just beginning to get the hang of it! The rolling of ink on to the wood is equally skilled. You need just the right amount of ink, a thin layer, and just the right amount of pressure to print it. I find if I start with a good drawing I’m likely to get a good print. I was lucky with my drawing that I went to art college in Edinburgh at a time when we spent three days a week in front of a life model, and we were all fairly confident with our drawing.