I tried another woodcut… and I don’t like it. I messed up the carving a bit too much. I think I got a bit over-confident after trying this a whole one time before. This seems to be my “normal” when learning a new skill. The second one is never as good as the first. I get over-confident from my first attempt and go into the second thinking I already know the shortcuts. This has been true maybe twice in my life.
Often this second failure leaves me not wanting to try anymore. I don’t feel that way about woodcut though. I already have my next idea I’m going to try. I identified what I was doing wrong so I can try to correct next time:
1) I tried tracing all my lines with a V-gouge. This was my biggest mistake. I’ve since watched quite a few videos on the subject and realized that nearly everyone traces their lines with a knife first. The knife is much easier to keep on the line where the gouges tend to follow the wood grain more. Using a knife will also give a crisper edge to each line and a hard “stop” when cutting out the waste.
2) I tried taking long strips out of the background with the U-gouges. A few different times I ended up coming out of the wood after a long cut, and skip across my line, taking a chunk out of it. That’s not good. Don’t do that.
3) I still haven’t learned my lesson on stropping. I need to strop much, much more often. The more the better. Cherry wood isn’t particularly hard, but it’s hard enough that the tool dulls rather quickly.
The short of it – I’m not happy with this one and I’m not going to fix it. I only pulled 4 prints off of it, with SpeedBall water soluble ink, and the printing looks fine, but the block just isn’t worth working on anymore. I’ll pick something else to work on.