Clockwise from bottom left corner: Resingrave, All Shina, Linocut Blocks sitting on Solid Cherry Blocks, Lauan (not available), Staedtler Mars Carving Blocks (not available), Solarplates. A tube of QuickWood is tucked behind the Solarplates.
All of the blocks and plates we carry are suitable for relief printmaking. Here is a quick guide:
For Woodcut and Woodblock Printmakers
Shina Plywood, available exclusively from McClain's in the U.S., is a favorite wood for woodcut or woodblock artists. It is soft enough to carve easily and hard enough to hold a crisp line.
Cherry is a very hard wood. Sharp tools are essential for cutting cherry successfully. Very fine lines and marks can be carved into cherry.
Scratch Foam is the easiest surface of all to work on. The thin, smooth sheets of styrofoam (similar to meat trays) can be marked with pens, sticks, rubber stamps, kitchen tools -- whatever your imagination comes up with. Fast and fun are the key words with Scratch Foam.
For Linoleum Printmakers
Linocut Blocks are made by applying the highest grade battleship linoleum to a wooden base that is then beveled around the edges. The wooden backing makes the linoleum stiff so it is easy to carve and easy to handle while inking; the beveled edge prevents the wood from picking up ink.
For Wood Engravers and Intaglio Printmakers
Resingrave takes the place of very expensive and vanishing boxwood end-grain wood blocks. Resingrave is easy to carve without chipping. Without wood grain getting in the way, curved lines are especially easy to carve into Resingrave. Use the Resingrave as it comes for relief prints; polish the surface and use it for intaglio printmaking.
For Relief and Intaglio Printmakers
Solarplates can be used for relief and intaglio printmaking. A light sensitive polymer is applied to a steel backing plate. When the polymer is exposed to sunlight or a similar UV source, it hardens. Areas protected from the sun stay soft and wash away with water. Solarplates are a very quick and easy way to create a printing plate.
For Monotype Printmakers
Ink is applied and manipulated directly on Monotype Plates and then printed onto paper. It is the most painterly form of relief printmaking. These are thin enough to print successfully using dry paper.