Updated: Nov 11
Hiroshi Yoshida, an early 19th century Japanese woodblock artist, created various colorations of a simple scene of a sail boat using multiple blocks. If you are curious, do an internet search for "Hiroshi Yoshida sailboat woodblock". After seeing the variations, I decided, like a kid in a candy store, "I want to do that".
So I transferred a single design on to eight blocks. Actually, four blocks with a design on each side. In an attempt to mimic the versatility the Japanese masters displayed in creating their woodblocks I designed a single side of a block to print multiple color options. If I count up all the options I can print from the four blocks, there are easily twenty options.
It started with the line drawing being transferred to both sides of each block. Then, I broke the image down into basic colors such as red oxide, ochre, blue, gray, and black and a block assigned to print each color. I made two blocks for the ochre, the building color, and used the top portion of four blocks for sky and cloud options. The sky in the drawings seems a confused mess but actually the line work is for three sky options with each option transferred to a different block.
The goal was to carve as many options as possible so that when I start printing, I can mix and match the blocks to get the coloration I want.
The sky printed first as a pale blue and then I moved onto the various cloud iterations. Alternating blocks and colors, I was able to print a number of colors in a day on some test proofs.
These quick proofs lead to color variation ideas as the colors are layered one upon the other. The simple sky (bottom left) version was lacking drama and by adding a dark sky with the moon, the image takes on a new life.
And the color options keep presenting themselves as more layers are printed. I am sure at a certain point the print will be finished or seriously overworked.