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Printmaking - Japanese Woodblock

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Peter Brown


This course will introduce the beginner to the beautiful and sensitive tradition of Japanese printmaking. You will learn and practise the skills of cutting and printing to create your own distinctive images. In this wonderfully tactile process, the printing is done by hand using a bamboo pad called baren. This, together with the use of water-based colours, makes Japanese printmaking a thrillingly simple alternative to Western methods. It is also eco-friendly, involving no harsh chemicals.

Topics covered

At the onset of the course, each student will be given a set of tools and a woodblock so they may continue to cut the block at home.

During the course you will learn key technical skills such as:

  • mixing pigments with rice paste (nori)
  • moistening the paper
  • making the unique registration marks (kento) for multicolour designs
  • image composition
  • tool sharpening
  • developing an appreciation of the qualities of different Japanese papers (washi)
  • understanding historical contexts underpinning Japanese printmaking practice

Who should take this course?

The course will benefit professional artists and art students interested in learning a unique printmaking technique. It will be especially attractive to those who paint and wish to print.

Entry requirements

A love of fine craft and patience are the requirements of this course.
There is no need to have any previous experience of printmaking, but you will need to provide your own images from which to make prints. The image size should be 11cm x 17cm. When planning your image, try to keep areas of detail to a minimum.

Level: Beginners

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Peter Brown gained a post-graduate diploma in illustration from St Martins in 1992. Since then he has worked as a freelance illustrator and printmaker. He is a visiting lecturer in further education and teaches printmaking workshops at Gainsborough's House, Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Sidney Nolan Trust. He specialises in wood engraving and Japanese woodblock and has illustrated a weekly wildlife column for the Times newspaper for the past 20 years. Peter is a member of the Society of Wood Engravers and exhibits regularly with the Society of Wildlife artists. See more of Peter's work on his website:


Please bring with you to the first session:

  • Your sketchbook with ideas from which to make a print. The maximum image size you will be working to during the course will be 11cm x 17cm
  • A 12-inch ruler
  • A set square
  • A hard pencil (2H or harder)
  • Drawing equipment, eg pencils, paper, eraser, sharpener
  • A Newspaper
  • Water-based paints - gouache or watercolour
  • 1-inch wide flat/square-ended brush
  • A jam pot or mug for water
  • 2 or 3 small pots for mixing colour; gift set size jam or honey jars are ideal
  • 2 or 3 small paintbrushes for mixing colour
  • A fine-spray bottle (plant mister)
  • A rigid, flat A4 folder to take work home in (two pieces of A4 mounting board will do well
  • Apron or suitable protective clothing

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.