Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Short Lesson in Japanese Woodcutting Tools...

No. 1 is the Hangito tool, the most useful and important tool in woodblock printmaking. (also called the kiridashi. It is capable of cutting intricate, flowing lines that are at the heart of Japanese printmaking. All the outlines in the print are carved with this knife. No. 3 is the Komasuki tool or round gouge. It has a semi-circular tip used for clearing away wood around the areas carved in outlines using the hangito.
No. 2 is the Aisuki - a flat-bladed chisel. It's used for 'cleaning up' carved areas so they're not so jagged. No. 4 is the Sankakuto - a V-shaped gouge. It's a Western influenced cutting tool and was not originally used by Japanese ukiyo-e carvers. *

top left - made with the sankakuto tool top right- made with the hangito tool
bottom left - made with komasuki tool bottom right - made with aisuki tool

Here's the print of the woodcut above.

The following are some prints by Antonio Frasconi **- a renowned Western printmaker... these are woodblock prints - although I'm not sure if they are printed in the traditional Japanese method.

* from the book, Japanese Woodblock Printmaking by Rebecca Salter
**Images from the book, At Christmas Time by Valerie Worth and Antonio Frasconi.


E. Floyd said...

Hi Brenda,

This is a great post! Thanks for putting it together and showing the examples. I love woodblocks and like learning more about them.


artslice said...

Hi Liz
Thanks - I'm glad you liked it... I've never done one on tools, so this was a first!