Relief printmaking is the process of cutting into a block to create a design or image, rolling ink onto the top and printing this onto paper or fabric. There are several printmaking techniques categorised as relief printing (wood engraving, linocut, woodcut) and the final prints produced can be widely different depending on your imagery and what you are looking to achieve.
The process is essentially quite simple and it is not impossible to teach yourself at home (or come to one of our workshops of course!).
We just love collecting printmaking books and here are our top selection of books that provide top tips and tricks to make the most out of your relief printmaking whether it relates to linocut, woodcut or wood engraving.
#1: Wood Engraving and Linocutting by Ann Hayward
Wood engraving is one of the hardest techniques to master when looking at relief printmaking. This book by Ann Hayward outlines how to create designs on hardwood and then takes you through, step by step how to create your design and produce the final print. A great read if you are looking to pursue wood engraving or linocutting as a method of relief printing.
#2: The Woodcut Artists Handbook: Techniques and Tools for Relief Printmaking by George A Walker
Exploring woodcut and wood engraving, this informative read provides you with all the information you need to learn about the tools and techniques required for relief printmaking. Exploring the history of woodcuts, the book provides a detailed overview of wood carving and design techniques to enable you to create something amazing. Providing beginners with all they need, The Woodcut Artists Handbook is an essential resource for those new to the craft. The latest edition includes two new chapters on linocut and engraving. Written by a seasoned artist, this book will equip you with the skills, knowledge and expertise to develop a unique and creative print.
#3: German Expressionist Woodcuts by Shane Weller
A book providing an extraordinary insight into over 100 pieces of woodcut art created by some leading artists including Max Beckmann, Wilhelm Rudolph and Ludwig Kirchner amongst others and provides a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts of the early 20th century conveyed through art.
#4: Block Printing: Techniques for Linoleum and Wood by Robert Craig
A useful book to have in your resource library providing you with extensive information on how to create block prints for art, greeting cards, personal stationery and more. This short and simple book teaches you in easy to follow steps on design transfer, developing the carving, printing and adding colour.
#5: Wood Engraving: How to do it by Simon Brett
A comprehensive beginner’s guide to wood engraving which has been written by an expert in the art. A clear and easy to follow book which provides detailed information on how to effectively print and engrave. The book is fresh, current and provides some great tips on how to get the most out of your artwork and offers advice on how to apply proven techniques which deliver great results.This must be one of best books in terms of wood engraving!
#6: Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Processes by Beth Grabowski
This book is a great resource for any seasoned or aspiring printmaker as it provides all you need to know to either learn from the very beginning or advance your existing skills in printmaking. It provides quite in depth information on the latest techniques which have been used to create some excellent prints. It also provides a useful section on using computers and image tools to covert digital art into printed works of art. A comprehensive read which provides plenty of illustrations, step by step instructions and includes anecdotes from leading printmakers and images of their recent work. For the beginner there’s also a particularly useful glossary which demystifies some of the more technical terms.
#7: Print Workshop by Christine Schmidt
More like a tutorial than a book, this publication leads you through every step of creating some great prints whether they are for invitations, t-shirts or cards. Providing you with up to date information, techniques and processes, this book is a one stop shop for everything related to printmaking. No matter what your level of skill, whether you are a novice or expert, there’s something for all abilities. Packed full of original content, useful tips and practical ideas, it’s a book that you won’t want to put down.
#8: Learning Linocut: A Comprehensive Guide To The Art of Relief Printing Through Linocut by Susan Yeates
The must have book for anyone thinking of learning linocut techniques. Explore and learn the entire process from start to finish through this easy to follow, well written and comprehensive guide, leading you through absolutely everything you need to know. From developing your idea and setting up a suitable space to teaching you the techniques to create your prints whether you are using a spare room at home or you have a dedicated studio space. Learning Linocut has never been easier with this easy to use reference guide written by an expert in the field.
We hope you enjoy reading and working from these great printmaking books as much as we do!