The Rock

The Witch gouache painting by Maggie Umber


Apr 4, 2018

This week I've started a new comic for my graphic novel collection Chrysanthemum Under the Waves. It's called The Rock. After finishing the labor intensive penciling and painting of Chrysanthemum I wanted to loosen up and go cartoony. Simple shapes, very reduced, a speedy process. I plan to do direct-carved woodcuts - meaning no transferring of the image ahead of time. I started a new sketchbook for The Rock and I'm doing brush pen experiments in it.

I bought a bunch of Shina Plywood from McClain's Printmaking Supplies for my woodcuts. I ordered ten 4" x 6" 3/8 (so I can carve on both sides) and a Shina Grab Bag which is 20 piece mix of 1/4" Shina Plywood and 3/8" Shina Plywood in sizes from 2" x 2" up to 4" x 4".

After I received my order I was worried the blocks were too small for The Rock. However, now I'm happy because small means I can work fast. Even though I'm doing woodcuts I can experiment, work direct, and make mistakes without it being a huge loss of time and money.

Apr 9, 2018

Throughout this week I prepped two test woodcuts for The Rock. First I stained two Shina plywood blocks with sepia colored waterproof Sennelier Shellac Ink. Then I decided to draw on the woodblocks with my Sakura Pigma Micron Pen brush pen, using my sketchbook as reference. Next I honed my Power Grip Carving Tools with my Flexcut Slipstrop. Then I carved my blocks! I got a new bench hook (Martin Universal Design Carving Block Holder) right before I moved to Chicago. I got it because it's larger than my other one and it has a nice v-groove. You can use it to hold your block at an angle while you carve. I use the toothbrush to brush all of the wood I carve off of the block and later into the trash. Super handy! I'm new to woodcuts so I don't have a lot of knowledge about how deep to carve. I'm not sure how much noise will show up in the areas that I carved away when I print. We shall see!


Feb 9, 2019

This week has not been as productive as I would have liked... Unfortunately having to go back to the ER made me super anxious. In response I overworked myself and then partied too hard, then overworked myself again. I got a super sore neck from headbanging at a dance party which spread into my right rotator cuff from too much carving and animating. This put me out of commission.

A chunk of my time off ended up being spent promoting stuff on social media. My comic The Rock went up on Spiralbound magazine on Wednesday. I also promoted Chrysanthemum being in NOW #5 and There is Water being in BOMB magazine since I was too sick to do promos when they came out.


The original version of The Rock appeared in spiralbound magazine, edited by Edith Zimmerman and published by, in 2019.

Mirrored, Muted & Mis-registered: Printing The Rock Woodcuts for The Man in the Blue Suit. 2019.