January 01, 2022

Decisions, Decisions. All about Proofing

By Leon Loughridge
Decisions, Decisions. All about Proofing

I would love to say that I know what I am doing when I start a woodblock, but the reality is that I have a feel that I am going after. The drawing or sketch is just a road map pointing me in the general direction. There are always decisions to be made along the way. A color needs to be tweaked and a carve adjusted or refined.

On the woodblock for Book Four of the Chaco Sojourn Series, I was not happy with the original plan when I was at the fifth color run. The background just felt heavy with too much dark. So I started nibbling away at the edges of the big shadow behind the character, hoping that would add some interest. Four color proofs later, I finally settled on reducing the size of the shadow.


Bowden Proof2    Bowden Proof 3  Bowden Proof 4
The sequence of photos shows the shadow being carved away between the proofs until I get to the shape I want. The problem with doing this is that I am decreasing the final count of good prints. Since this is a Reduction Woodblock, where the block is carved away between color runs, I cannot reprint. The version of the block that printed the first color run was carved away to create the version that printed the second color run. So, at the end of printing, I count up the good prints and that becomes the size of the edition.

Bowden Final
Chaco Sojourn woodblock