Wood engraving with Chris Daunt

Ref: S3D09913

Suitable for all

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About this course

Wood engraving is executed on the endgrain of a closely grained hardwood. Practise engraving then learn how to transfer your design to a block, print and correct proofs.

Course Description

Wood engraving is a relief printing medium executed on the end grain of a hard closely grained wood, usually boxwood. With graver, spitsticker and scorper, white lines are engraved into the blackened surface of the uncut block, bringing light and texture of great richness and variety to the design drawn on it. Although lino cuts and wood engravings share the same graphic approach, each medium produces its own inimitable result. Wood engraving can express the finest detail and the greater variety of texture on a smaller scale. It is essentially a drawing based discipline, and is the foundation of this art form.

During the course you will learn how to identify the various tools and materials for your wood engraving and appreciate their purpose; learn how to transfer a drawing onto the end grain block; carry out cutting exercises with the various tools on a sampler block; engrave your prepared drawing onto an end grain block and refine your design; take a print from your block using the burnishing technique; take a print from the block using the Albion press; evaluate and reflect on the whole process. In order to make the most of your valuable course time, it's important to start preparing your drawings and reference material in advance, even if your idea is not fully formed.

You will be working on engraving blocks measuring 10cm x 7.5cm (roughly 3" x 4"). This is a good size to tackle on this short course and you should end up with a fully finished wood engraving at the end of the course. Choose a subject that interests you and bring drawings, photographs as reference material. The drawings need not be reduced to size right away, but it would help if you designed the image according to the proportions of the block size. Images can be reduced on the photocopier. Bear in mind that wood engraving is an unforgiving medium in that mistakes can't be corrected, so the more preparation given to the preliminary drawing the better. Do remember that engraving works from black to white, so that whatever you don't engrave will remain black. It's the opposite of the drawing process. No previous experience of wood engraving is required.

You will print the finished blocks using the presses at the College, as well as a simple and effective method of printing with a burnisher. You will take with you any experiments, revised designs, engraved block(s) and prints.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • Black ink

What students need to bring

  • Please bring a sketchbook, tools if you have some already (students are strongly advised not to buy tools before the course).
  • Several worked-out designs - blocks will be 7.5cm x 10cm so try and work out one or two designs in advance with these proportions in mind. Even if your idea is not fully resolved, it is important to come to the course with designs that you think will work.
  • An apron or old shirt.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Tools: some tools are for sale in the College shop, but all tools are available on loan from the College and students are strongly advised not to buy any tools before the course
  • Paper
  • Fine watercolour brushes
  • Pencils
  • Sketchbooks
  • Small jar of white poster paint
  • Tracedown transfer paper (white)
  • Drawing materials
  • Available from tutor:
  • Engraving blocks: The price for blocks is £20. This is for a lemonwood block measuring 7.5cm x 10cm, and a practice block for the preliminary exercises. The tutor will bring additional blocks of varying sizes and woods, which will also be for sale.
Materials are available for the process of wood engraving, but do bring along your favourite drawing materials.


Chris Daunt

Chris studied Fine Art and English Literature at Newcastle University. He has taught extensively in the UK, as well as Poland and the USA. He was an illustrator for many years and produced work for the BBC, Folio Society and Shell, and for several private presses. Chris is an elected member of The Society of Wood Engravers and is one of the few makers of engraving blocks in the world. His recent work has focused on the rare practice of colour wood engraving.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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