Block Print: A Step By Step Guide To Your First Print | Andrea Lauren | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Block Print: A Step By Step Guide To Your First Print

teacher avatar Andrea Lauren, Printmaker, Textile Designer & Author

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Tools & Supplies

    • 3. Transferring Your Image

    • 4. Carving Your Block

    • 5. Printing Your Block

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This step by step class guides you through the process of creating your first block print.  This course is perfect for beginners who are looking to create their first block print and get started in printmaking with just a few supplies. 

By the end of this class, I hope you enjoy the process and get hooked on printmaking.  Once you have a few techniques down you can make blocks to print on paper and on fabric, or you can scan your images and use them digitally to create professional illustrations in surface pattern design or art licensing.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Andrea Lauren

Printmaker, Textile Designer & Author


Hello, I'm Andrea!  

I'm a printmaker and surface pattern designer specializing in block prints.  I'm the author of a Printmaking book, Block Print, published by Rockport Publishers.  I fell in love with printmaking when I was living in NYC studying to get a masters degree in something else (not art!).  Since then, I have been making block prints and using them in my professional design work. 

My illustrations and designs are on everything from book covers to textiles to wallpaper and apparel.  My clients include YSL, Valentino Red, Graniph, Quarto, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster.  

I love sharing my blocks and designs I'm working on over on instagram.  Follow me here on Skillshare to get notifie... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: I'm Andrea Line. I'm a printmaker and surface pattern designer specializing in blood friends. I'm the author of a printmaking book titled Block Print. I love creating block prints. I like to carve nature animals and floral prints, but any style or subject matter can work with block printing in this class. I'm going to cover the basics for creating your first block print and an easy to follow step by step guide, which will take you through printing your first walk print. You do not need any previous experience to get started. All begin by giving you a rundown of the supplies and materials you'll need for your first print check. The resource is section below for a PdF supply list and this floral stem illustration for you to use. If you would like, you can either trace this image and use it in this class or come up with your own design. Next, I'll show you how to transfer emission the block. Then we'll practice carving and then we'll carve our block. After that, it's inking up the print. I'll share my tips along the way for getting good results from your prints from the get go , then you'll get to see your hard work pay off and we'll print the block. You can ask me questions about block printing in the discussion section below for this class, and you can follow me on skill share so that you'll be notified when I upload a new class. Are you ready to get started? Let's get printing. 2. Tools & Supplies: Let's take a look at the tools and supplies you'll need for this class. One option is to buy a block printing starter kit like this one, which will have most of the things you'll need to get started. It includes a four inch rubber prayer ah carving tool with interchangeable cutters, a small tube of water soluble blacking and a small four by six speedy car soft block. Next up, you will need to print the flower illustration, which is a pdf that can be found in the resource is section below. You will need one sheet of tracing paper, a soft, dark pencil. I like to use a Tom bow to be a bone folder and an Exacto knife. You'll be using these tools and supplies to transfer the illustration to the block. If you didn't want to purchase a block printing kit, you can simply by any type of rubber blanc. I recommend rubber blocks to anyone starting out with relief printing because they're easy and faster cars. They work well, beginner gouges, and they're easy to clean up with soap and water. You can also use thes types of cutters. I use three and regular rotation to V shaped cutters and different sizes on a larger U shaped cutter, you will need a palette knife and a tub of water soluble Printmaking Inc. A robber Breyer that is at least as white is your block, but not too much larger than the block and a printmaking baron that you rub on the back of the paper to help the ink transfer from the block. The Baron isn't essential for your first block. So if you don't have one, don't worry. The most important tools and supplies at the block the cutters, the ink on the paper. When you're looking for supplies, please look for printmaking ink. Acrylic paints are not ideal for block printing. The last supplies you need our paper for test printing, like newsprint or printer paper and printmaking paper. This is Mulberry Block printing paper, while cotton printmaking papers available that is best suited for other types of block and printing. With the press next up, transferring your image to the block 3. Transferring Your Image: in this video, I'm going to demonstrate one method of transferring your image to the block. Take your sheet of tracing paper and lay it on top of your image. Using a self dark pencil trace around your image To avoid getting a lot of graphite on your hands, start in the center and top of the image and work your way down, even though I will speed up this portion of the video, take your time getting the illustration as accurate as you would like. You may need to pause the class while tracing and then restart when you are ready to move to the next step. Next, we will transfer your image onto the block. Place your block on your workspace and your illustration face down on top of the block in order to use this block again for other projects. I'm orienting my illustration toe one side, so I do not waste a lot of material holding the paper securely with one hand. Take your bone photo with the other hand and begin transferring the illustration to the block. I hold the illustration in the center so I avoid moving it on. I sweep the bone folder in one direction. To transfer the image in this few motions as possible, peel back one corner and check your transfer. If you need to go over any areas, do so before moving the paper around. Once you're happy, remove the tracing paper. Using an Exacto knife, I'm going to carve around the block. As always, use caution when using any type of blade. Do not put your fingers in the pathway of the tool and go as slowly as you need next up, carving your blanc. 4. Carving Your Block: thin this lesson. We're going to carve our block. Take your Exacto knife and even up your block. We're gonna use this little piece to practice using the tools. Here are some carving temps Practice Using the tools. Make a variety of Marx carve away from yourself. Use a non slip mat or cutting that. Move the block with your other hand and don't tense up. If you do tense up, take lots of breaks. Use the thinnest cutter to make some wavy lines. Here I am outlining the block makes him straight lines. Get a feel for the tool in your hand and figure out how much pressure you will need to apply. Switch tools and make some marks with a different size cutter. Get a feel for the tool in your hand. You can practice making a circle to make a circle. Place the cutter into the block and use your non cutting hand to move the block against the cutter. Go slowly. This isn't a perfect circle by any means, but you get the idea. Using a U shaped counter, remove some larger areas of block. This tool is great for getting rid of dead space that you don't want to print. Once you're happy with a little bit of practice, it's time to move on to the block. My personal preference is to outline the block, get rid of any areas around the block that I don't want and then move into the center and carve details. I'm starting with the thinnest V shaped counter and outlining all the way around the block . Next, I'm taking a larger V shaped cutter and outlining the flower again, making a larger space before I moved in with my U shaped cutter using your largest U shaped cutter removed the remaining bits of block outside the flower. After this will move on to the details. - Now that we have outlined the block, it's time to move to the details that will shape what the print looks like. Ah, good rule of thumb for anyone. Color block like this one is to use a variety of positive and negative space is for part of the bloc, all car of the pencil lines and for part of the bloc of carp, the spaces between the pencil lines. I'm showing the finish block hair to illustrate what I mean for the stem the hand and the center of the flower on carving the lines only on for the flower petals on carving the space and leaving the lines. Let's get started on the details for this block. I will use the thinnest V shaped cutter for all the details. Now that I've finished carving the lines all move onto the pedals. I'm carving the space in between the lines now and leaving the lines so that they will get ink when I roll up the block. Once you finish carving, it's time to prepare to print. First, you'll want to wash the block with soap and water any liquid Sobel work. You don't need to use anything abrasive or rough. You just want to get some of the dark pencil lines off the block dryer block thoroughly and clean up your workspace. You want to avoid getting any block debris on your ink and roller. Next up, printing your blanc 5. Printing Your Block: now the fun part. Printing your block. Here are a few thinking tips Onley Put out as much because you need look for the orange peel texture. I'll talk more about that in a minute. Build up thin layers of ink and add more ink to your roller as needed. Using a palette knife takes him pink and draw a small line on your plate in roughly the same size is your roller. This plate is a glass printmaking Clayton, but any type of palette or a sheet of plexiglass from a picture frame will work. Once I have some in count, I'll take the roller and dip it lightly into the ANC. Spread the ink out evenly, going in multiple directions until it spread across the roller. Since water soluble inks have short, open times, which means they dry quickly, don't spread out the ink too much. You're looking for an orange peel texture that is, that the ink on the plate looks like the pale of an orange. Some people also like to go by sound. They can tell when they have the right amount of ink on the roller by the sound it makes with a little bit of practice, you'll get the feeling of how much ink to put out in no time. Now it's time to roll up the block using thin layers of ink. Roll the thing down onto the block. This is a little bit like icing a cake or petting a cat. You don't want to smash the ink down into the block. Nice controlled thin layers are going to work. Best clear a little bit of space if you need to and grab your sheet of newsprint. Carefully laid down the paper on the block by rolling it down onto the block. Rubbed the back of the block with your fingers, making sure you don't move the paper around. Do this a few times if you need to get comfortable rolling the paper down. As this is the same way, we will roll down our nice piece of paper for the final print. Carefully peel back the paper. Take a moment to check out the block. This is your chance to see if you've forgotten to carve something or you want to make any changes to your block. It also gives the opportunity to see if you have the right amount of ankle on your block. If you have to the link, roll it up again and get a good test print before moving on. If you have too much ink, don't roll up again. Lay another piece of paper on the block and remove some of the ANC. I've decided to make a little bit of a change to my block. Now it's time to print. I'm using this piece of card stock that is the same size is my paper as a guide. By centering the block on this Jake, I can print the block multiple times and get it in roughly the same place each time. The card stock is a guide for where to line up my paper when I'm going to roll it down onto the block. When I'm happy with the place, man, I'll roll up the block again with more ink. You may need to put out more ink again, depending on how long it took you to test print and make any changes. Theo, take your mulberry paper and carefully line it up against the card stock. Go slowly and really take your time to line it up. Carefully roll the paper down onto the block. Try to get the paper down onto the block in one smooth motion. Avoid bumping or moving the paper once it's on the block, rubbed the back of the block with your fingers. Since Mulberry Paper is, then you will be able to see the image quite clearly through the back. Use a barren if you have one. When you think it's done carefully pull back the paper from the block. Check out all of your hard work. Congratulations. You have just made your first block print. Be sure to ask me any questions you have about block printing in the discussion section below for this class. You can also follow me on skill share so you'll be notified when I upload a new class. I'll be teaching additional classes on multi color prints and might go to registration method next up. Make sure you share your project in the project and resource is tam below