Tag Archives: printmaking without a press

Nova Artworks


A big thanks to the Oxford Regional Education Centre Visual Arts in Nova Scotia, Canada for highlighting my woodcuts on their website.  You can check out all of the great things that they do by clicking the link below:


I’ve been printing a lot recently, but not taking many pictures.  Gotta get on that.

Have a great day,


New Prints!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, but I wanted to share some new works in progress.  Here are a couple of woodblocks I plan on printing this weekend.  My life has been extremely busy over the past year, but I hope to begin a more steady blog presence again.  I’ve also changed the look of the site and would appreciate any feedback.  Let me know what you think.






It’s nice to be posting again.


Have a great day!


Copyright © 2013 by Drew Kail



New Print From Found Wood

This is one of the woodcuts I worked on outside a couple of weeks ago.  It is carved out of some scrap wood I found in my shed.  There were actually two scraps of the same type of wood, a square and this one.  This one is far from having right angles, which is why I was so interested in using it.  Basically… It’s got a lean to it from the left to the right side and the top has a slight wave which I think is gorgeous.  So far I have printed ten of this image.  I’m not sure yet what the finished edition will be.  It’s also still untitled at this point.  The other piece of wood, the square piece, I have been using for some color mixed process prints, which I’ll post pictures of when I get further along.

Have A great day.

Copyright©2012 by Drew Kail

What I’ve Been Up To+Craft Shows+New Prints Coming

Just an update on some things I’ve been up to since I returned from Pittsburgh.  

I participated in the Crafty Underdog event held at the Bob White Theater on June 3rd.  A Fantastic history to the theater including a gentleman named Dale Haskin who purchased it in the 1990’s to house his Wurlitzer organ pieces.  The Bob White is in the process of being renovated to be a functional space again, and I was excited to be a part of this first weekend reopening.  Thanks Crafty Underdog.  There are two more days of events in the Bob White Theater this June 23rd and 24th.  I will not be participating, because that is my 6th wedding anniversary weekend.  But do check them out if you are in Portland.  You can find out more info on their website:


I wanted to show my setup for the event, because it really is a simple thing that anyone can do when needing to display their work.  I used a 3 panel cardboard display board, which I got at SCRAP, painted it with gesso to make it white and hung samples of my work with thumb tacks.  The only real “construction” was screwing an empty cardboard box to the back of the board as a support so the display didn’t topple over.  Not really exciting so I didn’t take a picture.  Alyssa set up my table and I think it looked great.  She’s good at that kind of stuff.

An old wine box that I acquired from a previous job held all of the inventory and propped up a few collages.  I cut out and hand typed 100 business cards for this event.  I love how much people enjoy sifting through the stacks to get just the right one.  It’s free art.  What’s better than that?

Alyssa purchased this brand new battery operated camping lantern that worked wonderfully during the event as a little beckon of light… A little light house directing people to my space.

The last thing I want to show is my banner.  I cut the letters for Drew Kail out of black and white woodcuts.  The drewkail.wordpress.com is cut out of reused black mat board.  Everything was then glued to a piece of bristol board.  Pretty easy and I’ve used it for a few shows now, so it’s held up extremely well.

Events like Crafty Underdog are great to get exposure for your work, and I wanted to show that you can make a really nice display for almost no money.  I plan on building a wooden version of the cardboard display board with a hinge, but that’s another day.

Other than hanging out at craft shows I’ve been working on some new woodcuts.  I was carving on our back deck last weekend when the weather was beautiful and Alyssa took some pictures.

I carved two separate blocks that day.  This one is a piece of found MDF Board.  Originally the image was carved into reused linoleum, however, the lino had some sort of ink resist on it which made printing a quality image out of the question.  To remedy the situation, I printed the lino on the found MDF, which I will then print on the paper.

Here’s a better shot of the image.

I love working outside, because you can just sweep all of the wood shavings into the backyard.  I began printing the second block I cut that day and should have pictures up soon.

Have a great day!

Copyright©2012 by Drew Kail

A Look Into My Studio+Reduction Print+Step 1

Previously on my blog I gave a glimpse into my home studio to show that a large space, which I do want to someday have, is not necessary to make prints.  In fact, a real printmaking studio, though beneficial, can be circumvented with home ingenuity.

To see the previous blog post click here:


Here is the finished print

“Across Town”

Plate Size: 5 1/2″ x 3 1/4″

Paper Size:  7 9/16″ x 5 6/8″

 I graduated from Portland State University last June, and upon graduation lost access to the great printmaking facilities on campus. I was a printmaking grad without a studio.  I couldn’t afford a pay as you go printmaking facitlity and live in a small 750 square foot house with my wife and three cats.  Not an ideal situation for putting a printing press.  Since June I have mainly concentrated on showing my work, but have always been thinking about solutions to my space problem.

The blog post linked above was my first stab at one table printing.  Many of the materials I incorportaed came from my own home or from my local creative reuse center called SCRAP.  If you’ve read my blog before, you probably know how interested I am in using Rclaimed materials.  From my home came old towels, a big bowl as a water bath and my printing inks/brayers which I purchased from Daniel Smith Art Supply.  I printed an edition of 67 prints with a metal spoon.  At the end of it, honestly, my hands hurt, but I had succeeded in printmaking within my tiny studio.  Awesome.

A few days ago I was set to do it again with a new block.  Initially, the linocut I was planning on printing was to be another black and white image.  After it was carved I decided to up the ante and make the remaining block a reduction in order to derive a good registration system and improve the functionality of my workspace. This printing process is what I will be documenting beginning with this post.  I do not know how many colors the finished print will be, or if it will be good at all, but I wanted to show a printmaker at work with limited space, without a press and on a budget.

If you live in the Portland area, you are lucky to have an organization like SCRAP which takes in loads of materials beneficial to printing at home which would otherwise be destined for the landfill.  Check your local area for a like organization.  The link for SCRAP is listed under Resources, Artists and Organizations.  If you do not have one, no big deal, because this post is also about creating a home printmaking studio regardless of accessible space.  You may even be able to derive your own ways with found materials that work way better than what I’m doing, and if so, please share.  Throughout the post I will point out the origin of the materials I’ve used.

From the previous printing I kept my towels, the pieces of acrylic I found at SCRAP, the inks and brayers from Daniel Smith, and the painters tape.  New additions to the process were utilizing the bath tub as a water bath, please make sure it is clean before soaking you paper, a registration board made from foam core (from SCRAP) and thumb tacks (found in a drawer, origin unknown).  Oh… and I ditched the metal spoon for the handle side of a silkscreen squeegee.  I also use a sheet of wax paper between the handle and the printing paper to reduce friction when printing.  Silkscreen Squeegee found at SCRAP.  Wax Paper, very inexpensive at supermarket.

I’m using the leftover scraps of paper from past tear downs.  Those cast away strips of paper that too often seem useless.  I collect those.  Since many have slightly wonky sides and corners I’ll probably cut them down instead of tearing.  So, I measured on the foam core the rough paper size and where I want the image to be.  then I cut out the plate area where the lino will rest.  At the edge of the paper outline I’ve drawn an excess margin and affixed three thumb tacks. I will poke the tacks through each piece of paper upon printing.  During each successive colors printing the paper and tacks will be matched up by the original holes and  hopefully create an accurate registration system.  I’ve seen examples of this registration technique, but have never tried it myself.

****Important Note****  When soaking paper in your bathtub in a house with three cats, keep the door closed.  I started with 30 pieces of paper and have lost five due to a cat becoming curious, falling in the tub and thrashing to get out.  Lesson learned for both myself and Matisse.  Since I haven’t done a reduction print in four years and have never implemented this registration technique, I imagine I will lose a few more prints along the way.  My main goal is to learn more and improve for the next one.

In Process shots.  I decided to start with a dark peach color.

I’m using the top of my homemade light exposure unit as an inking station to open up more table space.

Same old cardboard box as a cat proof drying rack.

A few notes from the first run.  I used the spine of a hardback book to print a couple images as well.  Really the key is stiff, even contact with limited friction.  The wax paper works amazing.

Now to figure out what to carve next, and what color to choose for the second run.

Copyright © 2012 by Drew Kail