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'Wood Engraving - How to do it' by Simon Brett: Mini Book Review

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Tue 1st Oct 2019
Blog Categories: Inspiration & Books Reviews | Wood Engraving Printmaking | All / Filter

Book:'Wood Engraving - How to do it' by Simon Brett
158 pages ; with photos and wood engraving illustrations
This Edition Published By:Herbert Press, Bloomsbury Publishing (paperback, 2018)
Originally Published By:Silent Books (1994)
ISBN:978-1-912217-50-2 / 9781912217502

This is the sort of book you will read and read again, and each time read with newly opened eyes and learn so much new.

'Wood Engraving - How to do it' by Simon Brett

The title really says it all 'Wood Engraving - How to do it' and in 158 pages he does - using a format a little different from other books on the same subject - starting with a section on what the hand does, then the mind, setting up, then a fasctinating section called 'Matters Arising' which covers so many little details that you'll want to go back to it again and again.

Don't copy others, make originals

To give one example, using just one paragraph on p104 (my edition) Simon Brett encourages us to learn from others, to see what and how they do what they do, but not to copy them. He goes on to say Wood Engraving can be repeated like other art forms, but because there are relatively few who do Wood Engraving, the true number of originals is small, and therefore we should 'be one of them' (who make originals) - we should make our own wood engravings, not copies of others. And by extension from this I would would say we need to be ourselves - what works for us.

His whole 3 page chapter here is well worth reading, then reading again, there is so much in there.


I have learnt so much from this book - in particular about printing, and I will continue to learn from it. I know of no other book that deals with the details of printing with so much care, and has transformed my work within printing, taking me from thumb fisted over inking to more delicate and careful use of inking, pressure and the like.

As this book has been reviewed and recommended by so many others I won't take time to review more just now, but if you are interested doing in Wood Engraving and you don't know which book to buy, personnally I'd recommend it.

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