Woodcut prints – exploring the process with Rod Nelson


Ref: S3D11489

Book now

Places available

About this course

Experiment with this ancient art form as you explore woodcut printing methods. Use a variety of woods and papers, experiment with cutting techniques and print with presses or by hand.

Course Description

Understand the techniques and processes of woodcut printing and gain the confidence to explore the potential of this art form. This course introduces you to the basic concepts of relief printmaking using wood, it will familiarise you with the tools and materials involved and help you to create successful black and white woodcuts by hand and with a press.

On the first evening you look at examples of successful woodblock prints. Fundamentals of relief printmaking will be discussed and the safe use of tools. You can then cut and print a small block.

On this course you will:

Learn how to use the tools and materials for woodcut prints in a free, purposeful manner.

Learn how to keep tools sharp.

Develop your artistic vocabulary.

Experience confidence in making woodcut prints.

Explore a range of different woods and papers.

Experiment with cutting techniques.

You will begin by making a test block of marks to help you build a visual vocabulary that will underpin your explorations. From these marks you will start with an initial concept – you may wish to bring in drawings, photos or other source materials, or you can work directly from the environment at West Dean. You will then continue to work the block through to the finished print.

Your tutor will demonstrate techniques and processes throughout the course which you can apply within your own practice.

By the time you leave the course, you will have gained the skills to cut a block with a degree of artistic control in black and white, choose suitable blocks and paper, and learned how to make satisfying prints at home. You will take home a series of finished black and white prints with your blocks.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • On this course the college will provide some of the materials including the cost of providing inks, wood and paper, some papers will be provided by the tutor, with a variety of other woods and fine papers also available to purchase.

What students need to bring

  • Rubber gloves, apron or overalls.
  • You may wish to bring in drawings, photos or other source materials, or you can work directly from the environment at West Dean.
  • Any items you may have from the available to buy list.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Thick black ink felt pen
  • Papers suitable for printmaking
  • Sketch pad, A4 or larger
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Chalk
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Rod Nelson

Rod is a self-taught woodblock printmaker and has exhibited work in the UK, Germany and China. His mastery of technical skills has developed from many years working as a professional woodworker. He is co-author (with Merlyn Chesterman) of the book 'Making Woodblock Prints' and has enjoyed teaching for many years at West Dean and elsewhere.


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

Courses of interest

Sign-up to be the first to know

Sign up to our Short Course enews to hear about new courses, late availability and get creative inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.