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Printmaking Progress V: Woodcut Ripples

Having  satisfied myself that I have learnt the basics of etching in both zinc and copper (and having quickly realised that I am probably not all that good at Linocut) my next challenge in my quest to learn the multifaceted skills of printmaking was to learn the art of woodcut. This sudden desire to print images from carvings made in wood was very much inspired by the work of Felix Vallotton, whose superb satirical woodcuts stood out for me way and beyond his paintings at the recent Paris Grand Palais retrospective.

So when I saw a multiplate woodcut course being offered up at my favourite art college, The Art Academy in London Bridge, I jumped at the chance to enrol.

The night before the course began, I wasn’t at all sure what image to portray with my wood. On the one hand I wanted to emulate the moody mysterious social scenarios created by Vallatton, but on the other, I wanted to continue relishing in the fond memories of my recent Italy trip. Nostalgia eventually took precedence and I decided to continue my new experiment in Venetian ripples.

The wooden plates and a first proof

woodcut 2 woodcut 1 woodcut proof

That’s all very well, except that as I was about to discover, woodcut is rather tricky for a newcomer to the medium, and having chosen a photo on which my image would be based, and drawn it onto my wood, I soon found trying to cut the fluid curving lines inherent to watery reflections nigh on impossible to cut. Yet despite a few scratches, a punctured thumb and a clear case of repetitive strain injury in my forefinger, I persevered, and the photos on this blog show both the finished woodcut print, as well as a range of prints taken along the way when I was using just two plates (and therefore two colours) before I added depth to my image with an additional third plate.

The finished print and a detail shot

Ripples on the Rio della Guerra (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, woodcut print on paper)

Ripples on the Rio della Guerra (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, woodcut print on paper)

Ripples DETAIL

Not bad for my first attempt – I love the fact that when you first look at the print, it looks almost like an abstract expression before your mind becomes acquainted with the various darker shapes which make up the underside of the bridge, and the windows of a nearby Venetian house – all seen rippled of course.

Much inspired I’m sure that more woodcuts will follow as I continue my merry journey into the world of printmaking.

Alternative colours and a print run of the final print

red ripple yellow ripple orange ripplephoto

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at

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