Color Woodblock


All methods of relief printing are characterized as being made from a printing substrate whose flat top surface carries the image when rolled with ink while all non printing areas are cut away so that they fall below the surface plane. The cutting of woodblocks is the most common use of this method, but by the time postcards came into production it had for the most part been phased out of commercial production. In Japan however, where most woodblocks were produced in color the tradition remained strong. This process starts with a full sized drawing that is pasted face down on what will be the key block containing most of the image. Once the back of the thin paper was slowly peeled away the drawing would be reveled on its surface and cutting could begin to relief the image. From a print pulled off this key block the drawings for the next blocks could be prepared and then the pasting and cutting would continue until there was a separate substrate for every color the image required. They would then all be printed in registration to create a single image. This is one of the few techniques where prints can be pulled either from the pressure supplied by a press or solely from burnishing by hand. This printing method began being used to make postcards in 1900 but it was rarely used beyond the 1930’s

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Relief Techniques 1

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