Woodcuts and the Don Valley

So, the past few days I’ve really been buckling down and actually making stuff, rather than the usual studio curating and cleaning and ‘making sure all the jars of pencils in my room are in a perfect row, because if they’re not I won’t be able to do a single sketch’, etc etc.

It’s good timing, too – because it seems like after sleeping in for a couple months, the world suddenly realized it’s December already and, throwing its blankets aside, just tossed a bunch of snow at us and went back to bed. So while I’m working in my heated studio, the world has turned into a powder-white wonderland.

The south view from a trail in ET Seton Park.

Thankfully, this abrupt snowstorm has resulted in some absolutely beautiful landscapes in the Don Valley – which I walked through on Tuesday.

What I’ve been working on for the past few days is a lot more illustrative pieces – the featured one is for a project I have to keep quiet about but it’s a classic fairytale illustration style made with a very traditional medieval woodcut method – one that I’ve really been getting into recently.

I think working with medieval art styles is interesting, particularly because it’s largely pre-Renaissance, so there wouldn’t be as much formal art education like the schools that popped up in Florence during the early Renaissance.

So you’d get art more like this:


Which would be made by peasants and monks concerned more with pure religious depiction rather than the mathematically exact techniques in the Florence schools.

In my opinion a lot of these woodcuts are very similar to modern comics with their crosshatched shading, thick black lines and simple yet very recognizable faces. In any case, I’m really beginning to love working with this very simple style.

Where to Find More:

50 Watts – Excellent website full of inspiring high quality illustrations from many different decades and cultures

Graven Images: The Art of the Woodcut
– Great book full of the history of woodcuts


  1. I love that you are exploring traditional woodcuts. So much art is digital now that the mark of the artist is missing. I taught with a master woodcut printer when I taught at the art college. I loved both those and the lino-cuts he used.


    1. Wow! That sounds like an excellent opportunity – it really is a great thing to do traditional arts, like woodcuts or folk art – it definitely feels like in some ways the art world is leaning back towards traditionalism and outsider art (David Shrigley, etc) And I think in a lot of ways traditional mediums are being mixed with digital art as well, like AI-driven pieces.

      Liked by 1 person

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