This is a woodblock I am developing from a sketch of the Broadmoor Hotel I did one afternoon while delivering artwork. Back in the studio, I started by transferring the image from a line drawing on paper onto two different blocks . I flip the drawing, since the image will reverse when printed, and then position it on a blank cherry block. I use carbon paper to draw the lines onto the block and then make notations iin pencil on shading and solid color fields.
Registration for all the colors that will be printed starts at the very beginning when I do the drawing transfer. At the very edge of the photo is a corner mark at the top left and a vertical line at the left center. These will become the registration tabs and will register the paper to the image. The marks are clearly visible on the second photo where the gutter has been carved away leaving the image as raised. The registration tabs remain raised as well. Carving away the gutter can be a messy job with wood chips everywhere.
With the gutter on both blocks carved, they are now ready for some more selective carving. I designated the blocks as cool and warm, which means the warm block will print a color progression of pale ochre to red and the cool block will print a color progression of pale gray to blue. If I decide I need a color that will not fit into the progressions, I can always just add another block.
Starting with the warm block, the whites were carved away. I worry about detail at the main focal areas such as the Broadmoor Tower, while the carving in the clouds is loose and suggestive. As multiple color layers are printed, each layer helps to define the previously printed color, so I am only worried about being precise in the area of focus or of importance.
Proofing is essential to refining the carves and color mixes. I usually designate for to five prints just for that purpose. Sometimes those proofs make it all the way through the printing process and become Color Proofs when the edition has been completed. For the first color run, I did a number of color proofs on small sheets of paper and adjusted the ink color and value until I was satisfied.
The first color run usually does not resemble much of anything and require a bit of faith to believe it will turn into something. ( My apologies, I was excited to print the second color and forgot to photograph the first run, so there is no photo of color run 1.) After all the sheets have been printed with this first color, the block is carved a second time, creating the relief for the second color run.