Reinventing Xylography: Using old woodcut techniques as inspiration

by Emily on March 25, 2011

Xylography is a woodblock carving technique invented in the 18th century. Back in the old days, pieces were being carved out from wooden blocks in such a way that the printing parts remain on the surface while non-printing parts are removed or carved out. The style was very effective in expressing the boldness through the carving lines, and the extent of the details were determined by the size of the artwork. If the carving was large enough it can then accommodate intricate and complicated designs.
In today’s world, this artistic technique has been used extensively for advertising, publishing and logo design. Most probably you will find the use of this technique on magazines or anything of that sort. And with the help of technology, software like Adobe Illustrator or any vector based design tools have replaced Xylography in achieving the desired effect.

To give an example, Chris Gall is an illustrator who specializes in woodcut illustration. His artwork has been seen in almost every publication in America, including Time, Newsweek, People, Fortune, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. His woodcut illustrations still maintain the traditions of old school woodcarving. But in spite of that, he still manages to infuse a modern look and feel into his work.
Here are some of the illustrations that he has done for his upcoming book entitled Cocktail Book. Don’t laugh, that’s actually the title. I’m not making it up. But seriously, I’m a huge fan of the way he uses lines, details, un-orthodox color combination like bright pink and yellow.

I’m still hoping that someday soon, I can get to work on a project for GetIT where I can use this kind of technique that I really like. Yeaaaaah!

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