Block Printed Holiday Cards | Jennifer Belair | Skillshare

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Block Printed Holiday Cards

teacher avatar Jennifer Belair, Printmaking + beyond

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

7 Lessons (59m)
    • 1. Introduction + Pinterest Board + Class Project

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Cutting paper

    • 4. Image Planning Part 1

    • 5. Image Planning Part 2 + Carving

    • 6. Carving

    • 7. Printing

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About This Class


Learn how to make festive cards for this holiday season. Perfect to send to a loved one or to adorn any gift etc that you may be sending out.

Spread the holiday cheer while stretching your art muscle :D Check out my Holiday Relief Printing Board for some inspiration! 

We will be going over lino basics, carving, and printing. 

 If this is your first lino class that's awesome. I will be going over the basics but not super in depth. If you want some more in depth info you can check out some of my other Skillshare classes. 

Materials List

Easy Cut Relief Block (4x6‚ÄĚ works great and can be cut down)

Linoleum cutter (Blick also has a good option)

Printmaking Brayer (soft is best, here is a Speedball option)

Relief printmaking ink (water soluble, 1 color is perfect)

Printing Paper (you can get traditional printmaking paper or try out any colored paper, I’ve used card stock, copy paper, construction paper, just needs to be measured for card size and possibly cut down)

Wooden spoon (or large metal spoon)

Newsprint or copy paper to do our test prints on

Pencils-soft one for transfer process, I use an 4-6b


Tracing paper

Permanent Marker

A quick video on how to clean up after creating your edition

A few other things...
A favorite printmaker Marit Hanninen

Upgrade carving tools (Flexcut Micro Palm Set) You can get super intricate details with these in case you find yourself really loving this process and wanting to have better tools, they are pricey. 

Caligo safewash ink (oil based but water soluble so you get a rich print but with easy cleanup)

And ways to keep in touch

Thank you all so much and happy holidays, 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jennifer Belair

Printmaking + beyond


Jennifer Belair Sakarian is an artist, educator, and writer living in Michigan. She received her Master's in Fine Art in 2013 at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Her primary focus is printmaking and mixed media approaches to art-making. As an avid nature lover, she tries to instill green practices into her studio practice and subsequently into her Skillshare classes. 

She loves working with students and creating projects that are fun, inspiring and approachable. She is transitioning from traditional academia to online platforms such as Skillshare and hopes to keep learning along the way!

During graduate school, she had been designing and silkscreening gig posters for her favorite bands--some of which you can purchase on her Etsy page-cle... See full profile

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1. Introduction + Pinterest Board + Class Project: Hi everyone. My name's Jennifer Belarus and Carnian. And today's class I'm going to be teaching you how to make your very own holiday inspired relief print cards. They're relieved printmaking process is really great because essentially you can carve an image into a piece of linoleum and then print that image over and over and over again. Therefore, you can have an addition of say, ten cards, 15 cards, 20 cards. So for this class, I'll be teaching you the ins and outs of the process to going over how to plan your image, how to do some sketches, how to transfer the image onto a block, and then how to go about carving, relying on not only intuition, but also planned imagery. And then from there we're gonna go ahead and carve and then start printing our addition to have some beautiful and fun and playful holiday cards. You can see from the image here. And it has quite the character. And as a Superfund process done quite a few over the years. As an avid printmaker and educator here in skill share, you can feel free to check out some more of my printmaking based classes. That way you can have a better idea of what printmaking is all about. And some of the classes I go a little bit more in depth. This one's kind of a quicker process, but it is great for the beginning printmaker, the beginning relief print maker. And it's something that I teach at community centers near my home. So I hope you all enjoy and I'm so looking forward to seeing your projects. So for your class project, you're going to essentially be designing your own image to transfer onto your block something that resonates with you for whatever holiday you're celebrating. The one I'm making in our class is oriented towards Christmas and New Years and just an overall festive, wintery feel. So you'll be designing your own image and then you'll be carving and printing. And here's a couple examples of some different ones that I've done. This is a pomegranate, so choosing something like a wintery fruit could be fun. And making it playful, making it kind of go in line with whatever your style, maybe. Here's another one. This is actually from a couple of years ago. This one's a cedar wax wings. So again, like a strict holiday but something that's wintery and it's like a wintery bird. And then we also have the image first-class today. And this is of this kind of very playful, very sweet looking bird and just printing it in color. So that way it kind of has that kind of cold holiday feeling. But I could also use it for someone's birthday. You know, for just like a nice kind of little note that you send in the mail. So it's open to whatever you want to celebrate and whatever holidays you may celebrate yourself. And it's a great way to just extend a warm greeting to someone you care about. So I'm super excited to see what you come up with and please feel free to upload them into the class projects. And I hope you'll go ahead and follow me here on skill share and also check out my YouTube channel where I do have some more printmaking classes and kind of more open discussions on the life of a printmaker. So thank you all so much for watching and wishing you a happy day. So before we get started, it's always a good idea to kinda have some visual inspiration and also just to kinda know what a relief print looks like. So I wanna take you guys on over to my Pinterest board that's titled like holiday relief printing cards. But you can also just Google relief printmaking and just to have a visual identity and kind of understand what you can expect. So let's go ahead and check that out. So here is the holiday relief printmaking Pinterest page. I do have a link to this in the class description, but essentially I just want to give everyone an idea of kind of what this art form visually looks like. So some of them are better examples than other, but it's just nice to have that kind of visual identity. And you can see that a lot of the images and themselves are like some can be kind of blocky and not a ton of details. You can see some of that residual information from the relief printmaking style. So there's areas basically, if you've never done this process, there's areas that are carved and areas that are uncarved. So anywhere where it's carved will be the white of the paper. Anywhere that's not carved will be the colour of the ink. So like this is a really beautiful example. You can see the actual black, the points set up theirs. You know, the raised area that's holding the ink, which is red, and then the area that's carved away is the white of the paper. And there's just some really beautiful examples. Some are a little bit more simple than others, and I think that's perfectly fine. Everyone has their own unique style. So it's something that you can really embrace and just learn too. Connect to. You can do things that are more serious, things that are more funny, things that are more open-ended. Like this one is super cute. Little cat with some little bulbs on it. And you'll notice some of these are multiple colors. We're just going to be doing a one-color print today. So just keep that in mind. Lots of cats, lots of birds, and some are really just beautiful examples. So I hope these inspire you and really be sure to study the types of market-making. We'll kinda talk about it when I'm working on my image. But notice that there's kind of this directional carving like around this starts kind of radiating out. So you're using, you're carving to kind of illustrate something to show. And the way energy is being moved away as marks are being moved and things like that. So definitely scope out what's, what people are making, what they look like, how people are approaching, making the texture of snow, making the texture of this Frosty the Snowman is wooden arms. And so much more. So I hope this is inspiring and I'll be sure to keep updating this. And let's go ahead and move on to our actual planning. 2. Materials: So for materials, if you've already done relief print making of any kind, you chances are you probably already have everything that you need. It's pretty straightforward, but I want to go ahead and introduce them just so you have an idea of what to expect. So right off the bat, we're going to need one of this speedy carved blocks. This one was four by six, but I cut it down to be about four by five and a quarter. So I like to start with this size. I like this particular quality because it's pretty easy to carve into. And you can usually get packs of these for a pretty good price. So that's a great one to use. And I have links to everything and a list in the class description. Next, you're going to need some kind of relief, Inc. I'm using the Cranfield cligue Oh, safe wash inks. This is my favorite. It's an oil-based and washable into water soluble. You can also use some by blink and speed ball are really great to. In addition, you'll also need some kind of putty knife or something to scoop and spread your Inc. a little bit. I have one for oil painting and then they go a paddy knife scraper. Also, you'll need your Breyer. So this will be what we're going to use to spread the ink onto the actual block itself. And sometimes they like to have an extra Breyer To help with printing. So if you have two, That's awesome. If not, there's ways to make it work. As far as printing goes, we're going to need not only the ink, but also something like either a barren or a metal spoon, or the pressure of your own dear hands. Other things that come in handy are of course you're exactly blade or I'm sorry, utility knife and pencils, something that's relatively soft and will transfer. You're going to need some tracing paper or a really thin piece of copy paper or newsprint, a sketchbook ruler comes in handy. I always have one of those available. Also your actual cards, card paper that you're gonna be printing on. This can be traditional printmaking relief print paper or it can be a thinner card stock. I'm using white for this particular edition, but I just wrapped something up with some blue paper and that turned out really cool. So if you want to get creative and use colored paper or you can just add another element of color to your work. And I think that's pretty much it except for the last thing, which is some kind of inking station. So this is just a piece of plexiglass and I found it in a frame I think I'd purchase and this is my go to income station or platform, but basically you're gonna need anything that is going to stay its place. So you could use a sheet of glass and then put some tape around the edges. Or you could use a plate or a PAN That's really flat, does something that won't move a whole lot while you're working. And the last thing, which is actually one of the most important but got moved away is your linoleum carving tools. So this one's just a speed ball. When you get these, you open them up. It has a bunch of different gouge heads for it. I'm not gonna go into a ton of detail with how to do carving. I do have some other printmaking classes here on skill share that can kind of educate you on that and be really helpful. I also have another set that I like to use, the microbiome tools which get a little bit more in detail. And again, some information on that can be found in other classes. Another thing I like to have is just a scrap block, and this one is just a regular old linoleum block that's been stained with some black acrylic ink. So our paint, so I took some paint, put it on a paper towel and rubbed it in. And that way I can kinda see what my carving marks are looking like. And that's pretty much it for what you're going to need for this class. So let's go ahead and move on to the next section. So the next thing that we'll want to do just to get started and to start thinking about our sketching is we'll go ahead and take our newly cut block. And what we're gonna do is basically give ourselves some sort of thumbnail sketches, some areas where we can start drawing and coming up with some different ideas of what we're expecting to make for our holiday card. So I'm just gonna go ahead and use a pencil and just trace the perimeter of the block itself. And I'm gonna do that a couple times just so I have a little bit of room to play with and to consider different design ideas. And feel free to do a number of pages. I'm just gonna do one here, but you can do as many as you like, because it's going to give you more room to consider and to make mistakes and see what's going to work best for you and your holiday theme. So just kinda setting up our own little sketching page. And from here, we can go ahead and start thinking about the process and the carving and imagery that we want to work with. So for this part, you'll just need a basic pencil. You could even use something like charcoal or permanent marker, just so you give yourself a little bit of variety and you can kind of see the areas that will hold ink and the areas that will now hold ink. So we'll get sketching here in just a moment. 3. Cutting paper: So I wanted to show really quick trimming down your paper for your holiday cards and there's a number of different ways that you can do it. But essentially you're going to start with some kind of paper. I have some card stock. It's pretty lightweight. Not toothache is ideal. The lighter, the better, just because image transfer is going to turn out the best. But essentially, I kinda figured out what I want the size of my card to L0 based off of the actual size of my block. So my black as four by six inches for width, six height. And I know that when I carve it and print it, it's going to be a pretty nice kind of image. It might be cutting it a little bit too close on the top and the bottom. So I made trim it down a little bit. I'm still kinda deciding, but those are just things you want to consider. Maybe your image will be completely carved out. So then you'll have some whitespace, and that's always an option. But for me this is going to work pretty good. This is a stack of paper that I've already had lying around, so I'm going to use that. And since I already know this is kind of my little model, I'm gonna go ahead and kind of see what I need to cut off. So I know this is already the net, the right width for me. I guess it's eight would be eight inches. Let's double-check here. Ok, so it's nine. So my paper is nine by six. So that looks pretty good for what I'm trying to do. Nine by six inches. So I just know that I need to cut this. So that way this much is six inches. And I'm lucky because I have this nice little tool here. It's the whiskers paper cutting tool. So it's super easy to use and just makes cutting pretty carefree. Hmm, so at this it has a nice little ruler that folds down. And then I can go ahead and line it up to my six inches. And then just line this up and simply cut. And already has the ruler already does the measurements for you. So I end up with this nice scrap piece of paper that I can maybe make into a bookmark or something else. But I always like to save it just in case it comes in handy. So again, just going to cut the rest. So we got six inches across and they look pretty close and measurements aren't just making sure and cutting the right side because we don't want to cut the wrong. Sorry. Yeah. So it looks good. So again, just going to go through the rest of this and I'm doing two sheets at a time. And I'll show you how to do it without this fancy little paper cutters. Well, but it's pretty affordable and just makes life a little bit easier. You do have to replace the blade throughout its usage because it's gonna start getting Dole. But I've only had to do at one time within about a year. So I think it's pretty hardy. So I'm gonna cut just a couple more of this method and then I'll show you the other method as well. So this line it up to my six inches, making sure it's nice and taut. Cutting. And I have bookmarks. I wanna make some prints on those are some name tags. And I'm just going to pack this thing up. So it off to the side. And then here I can go ahead and just use my ruler and a exact dough blade or a utility night. So with this, I know I want it to be six inches, so it's a little bit more work, but it works just as fine. So six inches here. And I like to do my tick marks on both the top and the bottom. So that's six inches and then six again. And you'll notice I like to work on this quilting Matt as well because it just makes it really easy to do your measurements. And so now that I have the top and bottom tick marks, I can go ahead and line it up and then use my exactly blade or utility knife. And just start scoring and holding the ruler down pretty tight with a pretty heavy hand so that way it doesn't slip or move its legs to do that. So just be cautious with that. Be careful. But you see it works just as good. It just might take a little bit more time. So now I have all my gift card pages ready. And I probably won't. It looks like this one got a little bit too short. So make sure you measure twice, cut once, and that's always the rule. I probably won't fold them till the very end, so just keep that in mind. Okay, these are a little bit short, but I can still make it work. When you're tearing paper, just make sure that your surface is nice and clean and we can go ahead and move on to the next step. So as mentioned, I said that my block might be a little tiny bit too big for the size of my card. And that's okay. It's not big by too much. I'm probably just going to take off a half of half of an inch from the height. So this is six, so I am going to measure it down to be 5.5, that we have a nice little border all the way around and you'll see that in just a second here. So I'm gonna take my piece of linoleum and do something similar to what we just did. I'm gonna go ahead and take my ruler and measure 5.5. And again, I uses quote for a number of reasons. And one of them is because they're already provides kind of like a measurement. So it's about 53 quarters. So maybe I'll do trying to think 5'7, five and a quarter. So 5.25 and just trying to line that, it really nice. And then same thing over here. Line it up to the edge of the markings and then 5.25. And then I can go ahead and just use my ruler. And let's make sure this looks pretty even. Looks a little bit off. So like I said, measure once, hurt, measure twice, cut once. So I just wanna make sure this is right. So five and a quarter looks like the bottom one is a little bit off actually. So 500 quarter. Okay, that looks good. So measure twice, cut once. It's a golden rule. So again, just lining this up and I'll use my exact dough blade and I'm just going to score it, kinda go over it, holding the ruler really tight. Scoring once, scoring one more time. And I have that cutoff. So it cuts pretty easy. Ideally, it's a little bit straighter, but I think mine's just off by a hair. And I just mean this little edge that's kinda pickling up. And then this I could always use for some extra print I can hold onto it might seem like a small piece, but I could always cut a design and then use that as a stamp as well. So this looks pretty good. Let's see how it lines up on our actual card. So imagine there's something on here such as a design. And now I have a nice-looking border. A little bit more breathing room for the image itself. And the white papers really going to help it pop. So I think we're in a good space here. 4. Image Planning Part 1: So here we have the ALM intimidating blink page, but no worries, we have some inspiration under our belt from looking at the class Pinterest board, and also a bunch of fun ideas to play with. For me personally, I like to do a lot of animal based imagery. So I'll probably go with something like that, but always look back to your references, see what's out there, see how people are making marks. Remember some of the qualities and characteristics that there are with this particular process. So just a good thing to keep in mind. So withdrawing your ideas, you might have four rectangles setup and you can kind of start sketching just to kind of get some loose ideas. Remember, this is for some kind of holidays. So it could be for Christmas, for New Year's, for birthdays. But being that it's December in Michigan right now, when this class is filmed, I'm gonna go ahead and do something that has some kind of holiday feeling to it. Some kind of wintery, maybe something funny. So I think I'll probably start the first one will be like an evergreen tree of some sort. And I like to sketch in pencil first just because that way I can kinda get a feeling for C initial marks that are going to be made and things like that. And then I can just add like a nice little star on top. So it's kind of up to you just deciding what's going to be fun, what's going to be playful. And remembering that these sketches are not finished works of art, but merely an idea or a planning. What do you see yourself making? A good thing to remember with all art-making is since we're working two-dimensional is like if we have a surface that we're trying to create on a 2D surface and we want it to look readable. We want it to be understandable. We need to figure out how to describe a surface. So something I like to always say is if you're going to draw an ARM, is the arm gonna be Harry? And I know that sounds kind of silly, but if I'm going to draw an evergreen, what direction do my marks and my carbs and need to be to have it look and feel like an evergreen tree. Another one I'm trying to think what I might be interested in doing. Maybe like something with some like a funny cactus, christmas cactus, right? People, I know people like those. So just kinda sketching some things out. Little santa hat. And we got our okay, does arms. So it's kind of silly, but I think that's kinda fun. But this one will be interesting because then you can add some new textures to it. And sometimes you go and make really, really detailed sketches, right? And that's totally fine. But remember, this isn't the bulk of the work. The bulk of the work is actually going to be on the block itself when you're carving. And so it's just always like a good thing to keep in mind. And this is going to look pretty loose. This is more or less just how I like to work in my own style. Sometimes they'll have like a designer to setup, but usually it's just a lot of problem-solving and thinking about. What's going to be fun and engaging, but also not too time-consuming, but that will be cheerful and fun for people to check out. So just figuring out what are the different textures you might want to have. Maybe my next one is like some kind of cute bird. It's always a classic. So I can kind of play around with that, make it more like cartoon style or make it more realistic. It's kind of up to you and what your style looks like. This is already looking super cute, so I might just go with that. And it's not like, I don't think it's a particular bird. Would more like a made-up one. And then I can maybe put leg sum impressions of tree branches in the background. Something like that. Like this very peaceful little bird. And you just have like a stick. And I like kind of using less straightforward materials. Like you could obviously say this is Christmas, this is Christmas. This might just be like a nice, peaceful winter scene. So to be honest, I'll probably end up going with this one. And notice that they're all really loose sketches. I just have some ideas of space of maybe some marks and I'm going to make, but the way I approached this process is very intuitive. And for me that's kind of the most fun is like just having a lot of fun with it not being too married to a particular vision. And just seeing where the process of linoleum blocks can take me because it's definitely a lot of fun. And it has opened a lot of doors to like doing things in a different manner than I expected. Like if you plan something, it might not work out. So it's always good to be very open with what could potentially happen. So since this is a bird, I'm going to try to do some feathery looking things. And again, this is still my first sketch, so nothing really has to be married. I can just kind of make these suggestions. And then I, when I carve, I can decide to do something completely different. And then maybe this one is just like text or something like that. And just write b. And then holidays. And I'm just doing these quick, so just keep that in mind. Your style might be a lot different, but I think you can kind of get the impression or the idea that we're trying to go for. And this will definitely be harder to carve. So this is just again, like a rough sketch, but looking at what I have, I can already say that this is going to be the one that I actually love a lot and I wanna do something like that. So my next step might be to go ahead and trace it actually. So it will take her tracing paper. And we're gonna go ahead and tear off a sheet. And we're just gonna go ahead and trace this image as best as we can't. So let's go ahead and get started with that. Okay. So now I have my image selected. I'm gonna go ahead and just aligned him up as best as I can. And this is where some tape can come in handy. So if you have some blue painters tape, you can go ahead and use that. And that's just so it doesn't move around too much. And I wanted to be able to use the rest of the sheets. I'm just trying to line it up that way. And I'm just going to use a pencil. I'm going to look for one that's a little bit softer. So this one is probably gonna be a little bit better. It's an 8B, so it's much softer of a material than something like your mechanical pencil. This is really good for assigning your addition. So it's always a good one to have on hand. But I'm gonna go ahead and just trace the outline of my block. So that way I know exactly where the block is supposed to be and just making sure nothing moves. And remember, this doesn't have a ton of detail and I'm just kind of highlighting the key elements, the key image areas, and going to play with that. Because from there I can get really creative and intuitive and see what happens. This almost looks like some rosemary sprigs or something. So I'm totally down with that. I like things to be a little bit more abstract. So that looks good. I'm gonna go ahead and just keep tracing. And again, just getting down those key elements. You don't have to trace every single thing. And I know I want these kind of marks here, so I might suggest it, but I might not even do the whole thing. And we'll just kind of see just like a cute little pudgy bird. I, okay, so I kinda have some visual ideas, but again, keeping it nice and loose and fun. And I can decide on textures and things that are gonna work good for me. And deciding the areas that I want to be dark and the areas that I want to be white, the white of the paper. So now I have this traced. And I don't need to make all these marks because I kind of have an idea. So I'm just going to lift this, push this off to the side. And then from there I can go ahead and take my actual block and I'm just going to line it up on my board, going to remove this tape really carefully. And then I'm just going to flip this over and try to line it up with that rectangle that I had drawn in the first place as best as I can. And then from here I'm gonna tape it so that way it doesn't move while I'm doing the transfer process. And from here I can use my spoon for printing. My table might wobble just a bit, so I apologize. If you're a book artist, you can also use a bone folder that works really well too. And just kinda going over it as much as I can. And as a last resort, you can even just use your good old fingernail. Should be transmitting really well because we used the perfect pencil for it. This is a method of transferring. If you are more of a planned artists and you want things to turn out exactly as they are. So because I drew it on here, I'm going to transfer and then this image is going to transfer in reverse on my block. So we can see that perfect transfer rate there. But when I actually print it, it's going to be the exact same image here. So as an alternative, if you wanted to just get right into it, you could draw directly onto your block. And that's just another way to go about it. But when you do that, you just have to remember that it's going to print in reverse. So this way, when we do it in this method that I first showed you, exactly what you draw is going to be exactly what prints. You know, obviously there's gonna be more details and things happening, but just a good thing to remember. So now we have this all set up. Let's go ahead and move on to the next section. 5. Image Planning Part 2 + Carving: So now that we have our image transferred, there's a couple of different things that we can decide to do. We can just start carving as it is, or we could go ahead and darken it or enhance the image by just using a sharpie marker. Sometimes India ink works as well, but sometimes it doesn't. So my default is always the Sharpie. I honestly don't always do this step like I would probably just start carving as-is, but I just want to kind of show you what it looks like in some key areas. I want to make sure. So when we're designing and thinking about our image, we want to consider the areas that will be black and the areas that will be the white of the paper or the colour of the ink. I'm going to be using a red color, so I have to keep that in mind. Although I might switch it to blue, haven't fully decided. So I'm just kinda making the outlines of our Bertie here and thinking about which areas do I want to be carved away? So I'm thinking my bird will stay the color. And there's gonna be a lot of texture and things happening in the background. The black little married twigs will be kind of standing out. So those will be the colour of the ink itself. And I'll just carve around it. And then the bird will kind of be a free for all. So I imagine all of this area will be kinda white texture. And then this branch will probably have some texture. I want to highlight things like the little feet. And then of course I'm the branch like I just mentioned. And then probably carving away slash texture here. So we'll kind of figure out what it's gonna look like as I get going. But if you do want to be more articulate and more precise, there's definitely ways to do that. This is only one method of being a relief printmaker. And for me, as I carve, I'll kinda describe it in more detail, but I just like to play around a lot with a variety of mark making a variety of different gauges. So that way there's a lot of visual variety happening. And maybe just to kind of add to the overall there I say acuteness of this bird. I'm just going to add like a little heart to his chest. That just happens to Colin is my kind of style. But that way I can kind of make it really playful, kinda describe some of these areas a little bit more in depth and have something that I'm just really happy and proud of. He looks almost two cubes and maybe he should be carrying his own little rosemary sprig and his beak here. So I'll do my best to make that look realistic or convincing, I should say, and we'll go from there. So here I just kinda have an impression of the texture. I'm just going to keep that open-ended, these amount of fill in and kind of help myself guide. And again, it just kinda goes back to thinking in reverse. So anywhere that you carve will be the white of your page, and then anywhere that you don't carve will be whatever ink color you're going to have. So mine will either be red or blue. The paper's going to be white, which is already predetermined. So those are all things to think about. You kinda have to think in reverse. And like I said to this isn't going to be too in-depth about carving. I will be giving you some details and some advice along the way, but it's, there's some other videos out there and I will link to some of my own classes and sue Some other instructors as well. So just something to keep in mind. So let's go ahead and start our curving. So now onto carving, I like to kinda do the more detailed areas last. So I'm gonna go ahead and just kind of carve around my bird to get started. And one way to do that is just to kind of pick whatever gouge is kind of the biggest. And you can just make an outline or you can start with the smallest. It's kind of up to you and that's where I really want to encourage some play, but I already know the background is going to be lighter and textures. So I'm just kind of using a bigger gouge. Sometimes I would use the smaller one just so that way I have a white line, but I'm not making too big of an impression. So it all depends on the image that you have and what makes the most sense for you. So you'll notice that your gauges have a bunch of different varieties. Some of them are going to cut more u-shaped like this one. And others will cut more v-shaped. And with this one, it just depends on what had you have on the top, what gouge you're working with. So it's always good just to kind of test them individually. C, like this one's a small gouge. You can get some really nice kind of parallel cross hatching is happening here. And that looks pretty sharp. But otherwise it's good just to have kind of like a set to show you like, oh yeah, this gouges like really wide. It's a big Hugo age. That's going to work nice for what I'm trying to do. But essentially just kind of thinking it through and deciding what areas are gonna be carved, what areas are not? What do you want to be White? What do you want it to be darker, et cetera, et cetera. And for this one here, the speed ball, you can change the heads on it simply by opening it and then popping it in there. So there's one area that's pretty uniform across all the nibs and it just kind of sits in there with the ball bearing and you tighten it. And so now it's tight and it's ready to be used. So this one's kind of a funny shape. I'll show you first on this black, but it cuts kinda of a large area. And it's kind of like a more square shape, which can be nice for clearing big areas. So I'm gonna go ahead and start clearing around my little birdie here, this unidentified bird. And notice when it gets to detail them just kinda lifting up. So that way I don't carve too much into my actual image itself. So you're going to have to change your tools a lot just to decide What's going to make the most sense. So clearing away some areas. And I switch my tools quite a lot just because I'm trying to decide what's gonna work best for the given area. So this might take you 20 minutes, it might take you two hours, it might take you a couple of days. And just kinda depends on where you're at with your carving and how complex your image is. So sometimes in more detailed areas, I do like to go to my smaller gouges. But again, it all kind of depends. And something to notice is I'm always placing my hands behind me so I'm not putting my fingers and any risk. You will notice I have a Band-Aid, so don't think I cut myself from this. It's a totally separate incident. But just something to be aware of and to be cautious because you don't want to have any injuries from cutting it definitely as possible. So just using the small one right now because I think that's kinda working out nice for me here. And just carving out some of my key areas, remembering that anywhere that I carve is gonna be the white of the paper. And notice I'm rotating my block a bunch of ways to, so sometimes it's nice to move it so that way you're doing all cuts from one direction at the same time. So like I just did this one here. Now maybe I wanna do this one because the blocks are already turned. So anything you can do to kinda make your life a little bit easier. But it is like a very therapeutic and fun process. So I hope that you're enjoying it and finding it to be relaxing. The most traditional way of this, this actual process of lineup cut is what's called woodblock printing, which is the really traditional before there was linoleum and people still do this today of course, but before linoleum was like mass-produced, They were doing this many, many years ago and using things like different types of wood. And that would be the carbon substrates. So imagine carving wood instead of linoleum block. This makes it really easy. It makes it affordable and not so hard on your hands. But if you find your way into like a museum or a gallery, you'll find that there are a lot of Japanese woodblock prints and even a lot of German expression wood block prints and things like that. And they all take on a really similar style. It's an art practice that's been going along, going on for a very long time. So you're part of that history now of being a print maker. So I'm just gonna go ahead and start carving some of these more detail areas, some more. And notice that when I'm carving, I'm kinda lifting as I'm going. So my carving and then lifting. That way I don't kinda cut into the wrong areas but free now just kinda of about making this outline, I go said and trying to carve in one direction at a time, just because it's gonna save me a lot of effort. And again, time holidays are right around the corner, so I wanted to get this done and that way I can send him out. So there's a little bit of a time pressure, but you don't have to work fast. You don't have to work solo. Again, it's up to you. And you're kind of creative process. So I'm just kinda tackling some of these areas and making them and outline. Some of the areas are rounded. So I might want to pay attention to special details like that. 6. Carving: So there's a lot of different ways that you can approach the carving method. For me, I kinda like to highlight some of the most detailed areas and areas that I wanted to make sure are going to hold the ink. And for this particular image that's going to be the eyes. So I'm just kind of going in different directions, making sure that I'm keeping the integrity of the line there. And that's exactly where the black permanent markers at. So it's going to kind of vary depending on what your image looks like. What's a particular style that you're going for? How much detail you may have. Some approaches that some people may take is like going and using the actual carving lines to create almost like this textural element. If you remember back to some other Pinterest and Mencius, we had looked at a lot of pieces that had this very textured service through it. So being that this is a little bird, I'm kind of just going in one particular direction at a time. Notice that I'm keeping my hands behind myself as I'm going and I'm just trying to get that illusion of the direction of the bird's feathers and just kind of trying to describe it the best I can without going into too much detail. You'll notice that initially what I did was I outlined the entire Byrd itself. So there is a line all the way around the outside line and then also on those little rosemary twigs up top. And I usually like to do that just to keep the, again, the integrity of the detail alive. And something to remember is, is there's just a lot of learning that takes place with this process. There's not really a right or a wrong way to do it. It's more or less just a whole lot of exploration and making mistakes and having fun while you're doing so, the best way to know what it's gonna look like is essentially to print a proof and we're gonna get to that point in a bit. But being that I have quite a bit of experience with this process, I have kind of a bit of a knowledge of what to expect. The main thing that you'll want to hold onto is to think about areas where you carve will be the color of the paper, and areas where you do not will hold the ink. So if something completely cleared away, then it's just going to be the white of the paper. If not, it's going to be having some kind of residual texture take place. So I like to switch tools as I'm going just to give a little bit of visual variety and to not have the same kind of marks all throughout. Each of the gouges carves with kind of a different style, a different look. And I wanna make sure I'm using the correct style for the particular area. So even though I've done printmaking and this particular type for many, many years, I still repeat inside my head saying, anywhere I carve will be white, anywhere where I don't will be the colour of the ink. And it's just a friendly reminder to kind of keep that in mind as you're carving and so you know what to expect. So if my image, I do have some key areas that I do want to be defined. And that includes this little heart peace on the chest. So I'm just kind of outlining with a white line outside of the black permanent marker. And that way I kind of can highlight that, can make sure it's visible, makes sure that a stands out and then it looks different than some other areas. And then just kinda picking the right gouge, deciding what's gonna work best. Kinda making the marks in the right direction. So that gives us really nice illusion of space. And just taking my time and kind of understanding the process as I go. And again, just repeating that notion, anywhere you car will be white, anywhere you don't will be your ink. And by white, I mean the color of the paper. So it's kind of up to you to decide what's the best approach, but I'm gonna go ahead and do a little bit of a timelapse and then work into the rest of this image somewhere. So now I'm gonna move on to that Wayne portion, but I'm gonna go ahead and switch to a little bit of a bigger V gouge. This one's my widest one and it's going to make more of a impact or impression. And it's just gonna kinda get that texture across. And I'm trying to create through his little feathers on the wing. So it just kind of creating this new texture that's different from the rest of the body itself. And it's just going to give you that visual identity, that visual cue that this particular textured area does not match the rest. So that's just something you can ask yourself as you're making this, how am I describing it? How does it differentiate from the other areas in the picture plane and things like that. So just a good thing to consider and think about. I'm gonna go ahead and keep working on this and then we'll meet up. So now I want to start thinking about the texture of the background. And again, just wanted to make it different than anything else in the picture plane. So I'm gonna kinda create this almost nest like habitat where there's kind of some nice curves happening around the shape of the bird and also those little rosemary twigs by just trying to describe it in a way that makes sense that feels like cosy and q and all the kinda different emotional qualities. And I'm trying to get with this. And I'm just going to kind of essentially make these kind of nest like marks. So that way it's kind of like a circular motion that's encapsulating the bird. So I'm gonna go ahead and timelapse with that. And then I'll meet with you in just a minute here. So now that we have the background kind of figured out as far as our textural details, I want to go ahead and work on his feet and the little branch area. So since I want to keep the integrity of the shape of the f_0, I'm just carving a white line around the outline of the black permanent marker. So that way the feet stand out from the tree branch and I'm just kind of directionally moving my blocks so that way I can easily get that texture down and make sure that the feet PAP OUT properly so it's a little bit of work and this is where the more detailed things come in handy and a little bit of hand-eye coordination. And usually a pretty small gouge works really great for this. So I would make sure if you're not feeling confident about it, to maybe do a practice on the back of it just to kind of see what the Carve marks might look like for you. But essentially just doing the best I can to get the overall look and impression and have it match kind of the overall style that I'm going for. And now lastly, I have to worry about the branch that the bird is sitting on. So I want to make sure that I'm giving it an entirely new texture because it is essentially supposed to be wood or a twig. So I want to make sure that it has that kind of likeness of the actual object. And so I'm trying to kind of depict some bark. And I'm just using my smallest gouge possible and just kinda painting or carving these really wavy marks into the branch itself. And a good reminder and something you can do if you're unsure of what the texture should look like, is just to kind of look at some images. Or if you're able to go out and find that object itself and kinda see what it feels like. What does it look like? How can you articulate that through this unique process? And for me, I think this is a really fun way to do it just to have these really nice kind of subtle details. Kind of making some cross hatches almost into it, so it follows the curvature of the branch. So just kind of getting that two-dimensional space to have a little bit more of a three-dimensional feeling to it. And that's pretty much it. As far as this carving goes, I feel like it's going to be in a good place to go ahead and do my print and see what I'm working with and how I like it. But there's just a couple more last details. And for me it's going to be that wing. And I'm just essentially using a nice Hugo age and I'm gonna go ahead and just outline that permanent marker line. So that way the wing really stands out and kind of has its own space and presence. So we're gonna go ahead and get moving on to our actual printing and seeing what this image is looking like. Remember when you're making your prints yourself, you can always test it along the way and just kinda see what you're working with, what this image looks like. And let's go ahead and check that out. 7. Printing: Now we're all ready to print. So I have my area all cleaned away, and then I have my plexiglass, I have my ink, my papers, and a nice clean area. And then I have my Breyer and also my little knife and then also my printing tool. So I have my wood or metal spoon and then a barren and then I went to clear away any areas I can. So that way, It's really easy for me to just put my dry prints in a clean location. So I'm gonna go ahead and start inking this up. Like I mentioned, I'm using the LIGO safe wash relief inks and I'm just gonna go ahead and put out a nice bit of ink and try to make it about as wide as my Breyer. This comes second nature to me because I've been doing this a long time. But if it doesn't for you, you can always put it in a little blob over here and then take your scraper and scrape a thin line. But from here, I can go ahead and start charging it. Notice my Breyer is always on the metal backing so that way it doesn't destroy the rubber part of it. And then I'm just gonna go ahead and charge this up. So this, my camera might move just a little bit, so you'll have to excuse that. But as you can see, I went ahead and went with the blue. And you'll notice when it's getting fully charged, i'm just going in one direction and then the opposite. And charging up my Breyer as best as I can. It, it has a little more than I would usually have, but it's very absorbent at this stage, so that's going to be OK. You don't want it to be too gloppy where it's like squishing around too much and there's poor living on both side. You ideally wanna keep your area nice and tight and cleans and just make sure that it has this kinda like quite like Velcro, but a little bit softer than that. So I'm gonna go ahead and charge up my image. And I'm going in one direction first and then the other. And you can see it's already really coming to life and it looks really good. So I'm pretty excited about that. And you'll get a feel for how it should be, how it should feel Azure kinda charging your image up. It might take a couple of tries, but you'll notice if you have too much or too little ink, and right now, it looks pretty good. So we're going to go ahead and do our first print. And I'm gonna go ahead and actually just print directly on my card paper. I know I said I wasn't going to live. Change my mind because I think I actually really like this image, but what you could do is just print it on a piece of newsprint or copy paper and then see what might need to be changed from there. And one thing to remember is, we're going to fold these into cards. So the image is always going to need to be on this side. So I would have to print like this, but it looks a little dangerous over here. So I'm going to scooch this on over, move my print. And it might have to wipe this out just so it doesn't get on my paper. And that's why it's always good to have a rag on hand. Think this one will be okay for now. And you might need some soapy water just to make it a little bit easier, but there should be OK. I'm not too worried about it, but now with lining up, I am basically going to eyeball it. And one way to do that is just a hover the paper on top of your print or on top of your black, and just make sure there's an eco dissonant amount on both side. And then I just kind of slide it over and then set it down. And now the print or the block is kissing the paper, is what we call it. And you can print this now in a couple of different ways. So you can use your wooden or your metal spoon or a woodland. And you can just go in circles in work small areas at a time. Another way is through a traditional barren Reagan is kinda go over in circular motion again. And then another way is just to use a second Breyer. And this is actually kinda my new favorite way to print because it's pretty easy on the hands and on the image. So you don't wanna go off the edge too much because you're gonna get crinkles and it might not look so hot. So now let's go ahead and see what we got. Yeah, that looks adorable. So this is my new holiday card. I'm actually really happy with this. I think there might be a tiny bit too much ink, but that's something I can kind of dry. Or alternatively, I can push it up here and then I can go ahead and just grab another piece of paper to kinda lift some of the excess ink off. Like I said, I can just use a piece of scrap paper and try to pick some of this up because it did look a little bit too heavy on the ink. And even though I've been printing a long time, I still makes mistakes like this and that's totally fine. But yeah, see you some extra came up. You don't have to do this for every print. The idea is to just get the ink distribution a little bit better. And actually I printed mine on the wrong side. You want to make sure it prints on the other side so that we when you fold it. But it's not a big deal. I'll go ahead and cut that so that way you can't tell. And you do want to make sure your hands are nice and clean minor starting to get a little bit dirty. So let's go ahead and link up the second one now. So now I'm going to print this and making sure that my image is printed on this side. So that way when I fold it, it makes sense. So my apologies for that last time, but it's a good lesson as o same thing, hovering it over and then just trying to make sure it lines up really nicely. Nice and even and I could always trim down my paper afterwards. But I'm gonna go ahead and it's stuck down there with the ink. I can go ahead and just use my extra Breyer and print that way. And this comes in handy with card stock because card stock is a little bit thicker. Then traditional printmaking paper like that's used for relief printmaking. So that's just something to keep in mind that you might have to work a little bit harder to print them, but if you do the inking correctly, you should be fine. So now I can lift this and see what I got. And yeah, I think that looks super cute. You'll notice on this one we have Lake kinda fun edges, right? It just adds another dimension to it. So, so I spend a play around and just try something different. But as mentioned before, just make sure that you're printing so that way when you fold it, it opens up the proper wave. So I just want to show that again. This one will be a reverse card and then this one is the proper way. So you kinda have to visualize it a little bit. But, you know, once you get the hang of it, you should be in good shape. If I were to change anything about this image, I might go ahead and carve inside of these little rosemary twigs a little bit, but otherwise, I think it looks really good and I'm ready to go ahead and print my holiday card edition. Yeah.