I enjoy drawing on wood

After a flurry of shows and events, and before Norwescon, I’m finally back in the studio catching up on printing. I finished up the 2nd edition of Gruss vom Krampus today (photos soon) and will next be tackling the Sphinx edition. The Sphinx was first sketched directly on the block at an event last summer, then proofed in front of an audience at Art in the Pearl. Autumn/winter tends to be my busy season, so I never got around to printing the planned edition of 50 though I did make a few of the best proofs available at events and online.

Carving the Sphinx

Technically speaking, I could have printed a few of the edition and numbered them as such, but I much prefer to print editions all at once. If it is impossible to pull the entire edition in one day (I’m a human not a machine), I’ll print the edition over a few days. Why do this rather than “print to order?” It would certainly be less of an up-front investment in paper and time to pull a few prints, sell them, then pull a few more.

Proof of the Sphinx's existence.

However, by printing editions as I do in one fell swoop, I’m able to maintain greater control over the quality of the edition. My woodcuts are all hand pulled and due to the nature of wood and the maker (I’m still not a machine), there will always be slight variations between each print. That said, it is an edition! The variations need to be slight, and #50 shouldn’t be a lower quality piece of art than #1. So I print them all at once, give them a few days to dry, and then spend time sorting through all of the prints. Any that deviate too far from the rest, or are outright mistakes, aren’t included in the edition. Good variants might be kept as artist proofs, but mistakes are destroyed. On the few blocks I’ve treated as open editions (primarily artist trading cards), I still print in batches and keep examples on hand for comparison.