I try to work without the aid of a computer as much as possible when transferring a drawing to woodblocks. It is true that using a computer can make aspects of printmaking easier, it is a personal goal for me when working with mokuhanga to create multiple images using only pencils, paper, carving tools, woodblocks and ink.
I am by no means a luddite. Japanese have been creating sophisticated reproducible artworks since the 9th century. To me their process is just as much valid today as it was then because each mokuhanga print still feels like one of a kind watercolor to me.
Creating artwork without a computer in the room also increases mindfulness. When I am detached from the computer I am fully focused on the project at hand without the interruptions of social media, email, or any other notifications that may suddenly arise on the screen.
For example: When creating a multi-colored woodblock print I need to be sure that the colors print in the right place. This involves carving the right areas on each block, which means I need to place the key image in the exact same spot on each of the blocks I need to carve. For three color blocks, I need the key drawings placed in the same position on each block to ensure that the color flats lineup when printed. To do this I need three key drawings that are the same, and this is a point where I can use computer technology or that of paper and pen to ensure this happens. With a computer, I can print out three exact drawings, and paste each onto the block in the same spot. Or, I can take a much riskier and longer route, and use carbon paper to trace one image three different times onto the block. The carbon paper takes longer, and each drawing will be a little different, but boy does it look beautiful. And I’ve recreated a key drawing without the use of a machine. The process still feels pure.