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Trouble Afoot

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:14 PM, March 26, 2013 [Permalink]

Jed Henry and I set forth a set of seven prints in the Ukiyoe Heroes series during the course of last year's Kickstarter campaign.

It'll take me until late this year (October/November) to finish making the work we promised, but Jed himself hasn't stopped producing designs for the set. Some weeks back he finished a design featuring a group of ninja reptiles (entitled 'Trouble Afoot'), and put up a sample for people to see:

There was a lot of interest, right off the bat. So he and I discussed the possibilities, and we decided to add this to our list of his designs that would become woodblock prints, and he put it up into his webshop, even though I won't be able to get started on it until the other commitments are taken care of.

Jed let me know this morning that pre-orders have reached 100 copies ...

I can't wait to get started carving this one!




Added by: Karsten on March 31, 2013 11:24 PM

A wonderful pattern - I think (hope?) that Jed is getting more familiar with woodblocks and what can be done with them.

One thing I was wondering the first time I saw this image - it seems to rely a lot on the "brightness" of the center, which might be easier to achieve with modern inks on industrial super-bleached paper.

Is there a "white" ink available to use for this kind of work, or are you confident that with the right green tones, woodblock printing can easily provide enough contrast to make this "pop"?

Added by: Dave on March 31, 2013 11:34 PM

We will use no white pigment at all in this print (nor do I use it in any of our normal ukiyo-e work). White in our images is provided by the paper itself, and it becomes a question of the surrounding tones. The darker we make the surrounding areas, the whiter and brighter the center will appear.

I am quite sure that I can make it 'pop' as brightly as necessary!

Added by: Karsten on April 2, 2013 11:31 AM

Ah, thank you for the answer!

Apologies for my ignorance - both in material (I keep thinking "ink", but no, these are pigments!) and in culture... I did not mean for the question to be rude, but I wonder if it could be seen that way... My bad.

On the subject of color choices, I was wondering - once there are a few heroes woodblocks out, would it be good to post some side-by-side comparisons of Jed's digital Giclee designs against the finished woodblock print, with Dave's commentary? I see the rickshaw cart only has subtle differences in color, while the fox moon features a different arrangement of the characters.

I realize this may again be rude - some of these choices may be the result of "internal" discussion, other differences may point out where minor mistakes were made / covered up...

However, if such a post was feasible, I would be quite interested - it would show the "bigger picture" of woodblock printmaking, as it were, seeing with the "eyes" of a seasoned pro.

(That said, I know you are incredibly busy - I would rather you work on carving/printing than write blog posts all day, so please take this as a suggestion of direction, not as a "want more posts" request)

Added by: Dave on April 2, 2013 12:02 PM

Actually, a number of the issues you bring up have been addressed over on the Kickstart campaign page, in the Updates section. Excuse me for not digging them up and linking - I'm carving at the moment - but if you head over there and dig around a bit, you will find some answers to these questions!


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