If you like unique artwork, look no further than the woodcut prints created by Pittsburgh-based artist Valerie Lueth and her art studio Tugboat Printshop. They are rooted in traditional printmaking techniques but carry a modern and innovative stamp.
The process starts with Lueth sketching a detail-filled piece of art on a woodblock using a pencil. She then carefully hand carves each pencil line into the wood using gouging tools and knives. This often includes working on multiple blocks, each of which contains a slightly different variation of the same art.
After the carving is done, Lueth applies a layer of oil-based ink to the wood before placing paper on top of it and running them through a printing press. For multi-colored pieces, several blocks are used to get the final artwork.
According to Lueth’s official website, the process of woodcut printing “makes a distinct printed image.” It offers crispness and clarity of line that can’t be achieved with digital printing while the woodgrain from the woodblock becomes a part of the artwork.
“Each print pulled from a woodblock is, in some nuanced way, original,” Lueth explains.
You can check out more of her woodcut prints below.