The simple dos and donts in creating Custom BlockPrints.
Wood blocks are usually hand-carved using seasoned teakwood or shisham wood. Designs are first traced on to a flat piece of wood and chiselled with special tools (here is a sneak-peek). At Tharangini, many designers who work with us select woodblocks from our open archive of 4000+ blockprints. Others choose to commission custom prints.
There are simple dos and donts to keep in mind when creating a design that translates using this technique.
Almost any design translates into hand-carving, with the exception of complex faces, very fine lines, cursive handwriting, and shading or gradations.
An average wood block size is typically 19-20cm, though in some cases blocks are made bigger. This does not mean the design repeat should be within this dimension. If you have a larger designs, it will be translated into multi-part blocks (think one block, split into parts).
For every colour, there is a corresponding block (like “Layers” in Photoshop). It is ideal, however, to stick to under 4-5 colours [why]. If you have a very large design with multi-part blocks (See point #2), it is best to limit the number of colours. (Incase you were wondering, we have printed using 20+ colour designs which turned out to be extremely complex!)
For better design clarity, do not clutter the design with a lot of minute details. It is recommended to leave some openness in the design, so the dyes don’t pool in these areas during printing.
Avoid having large expanses of solid colour, this will appear patchy during printing, unless that’s the effect you want!
The above image is by one of clients: Fanny, who converted her hand-drawn water colour painting into a blockprint.
At Tharangini, our wood-carving artisans are adept at translating a variety of designs into hand-carved works of art.
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