top of page


Mainly there are 2 different types of woodblock printmaking. The Western method, commonly known as "woodcut" uses oil-based inks which is applied with brayer (roller) then printed on dry paper either by hand using baren or other tools, or with a printing press. The Eastern method uses water based inks (or water based paints such as watercolor or gouache) applied with brush then printed on dampened paper by hand using baren.

In the Sun

by Frances Hammell Gearhart   Woodcut, 1930

Above the Clouds

by Hiroshi Yoshida   Woodblock Print, 1928

Woodblock printmaking arrived in Japan from China in the 8th Century and developed tho be called "Moku Hanga." Japanese woodblock prints became widely available via mass production in Edo period (1603-1863), which is known as "Ukiyo-è," which translate to "floating world art." During this period, a publisher was in control of the process, hiring the artist who would draw, carvers to carve, printers to hand print, to mass-produce these prints. Signature you see on Ukiyo-è is that of the artist, but many skilled people were involved in creating them. 


These days, the artist creates artwork, carves, and prints. This is called "Sosaku Hanga," meaning creative print.

Japanese woodblock printmaking is known to be one of the least toxic form of printmaking, if not the least toxic. For this reason, and also because it does not require heavy, expensive printing presses, it is taught in Japanese primary schools.

MW Art Nouveau hanko logo
bottom of page