ShopBot Octobaby Monster Woodcut

This image has been in my head for over a year:
photo 1 (2)As a slave to the twisted innerworkings of my mind I had no choice but to breathe life into this visual aberration. So, I set off on a journey to turn it into a giant woodcut.

Firstly, I traced the outline of the above image in Illustrator in order to make a CNC file for the ShopBot at TechShop Pittsburgh to read and cut out the negative space for me. 
  photo 3 (2)

The cut included the outline and also two “pockets,” which is where the cut does not go all the way through the wood. I added these two pockets just to learn the process. They aren’t structurally necessary.

photo 4 (2)

I redrew the image using pencil and then permanent marker on the wood. Once the drawing was finalized in permanent marker, I went over the surface with a red permanent marker, which is the modern equivalent of dyeing the wood with ox blood. The point of a red tint is so you can see where you’ve carved into the wood. The carved areas reveal the wood’s natural color and it’s especially helpful with details.

photo 5 (11)  photo 1 (3)photo 4 (3)  photo 3 (3) Once I carved the entire image I rolled it up with black ink and lay down newsprint in order to do a proof print. Because I don’t have access to a 48″ inch wide printing press my only printing option is the good ol’ wooden spoon technique, which is where you rub the back of a wooden spoon all over the back of the paper in order to transfer ink onto the paper. High tech stuff.

I’m pretty ecstatic about how this first print looks! I’ll get a lot more practice at the wooden spoon technique as the prints multiply…

The plan for this “Octobaby” beauty is to paste it up on buildings and such similar to this guy, which was just a hand drawing:



About mitchcollective

MITCH Collective is a community-driven catalyst promoting creativity in the Ohio Valley. MITCH Collective enriches Martins Ferry, Ohio and nearby towns by: -inviting artists, writers, and musicians to experience the beauty and creative potential of the area while creating new work and interacting with local residents through the residency program. -inspiring a historically economically depressed area by teaching new skills and ideas that will help foster new problem solving approaches for challenges that face the community. -collaborating with nonprofit and municipal organizations in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania to bring innovative, interdisciplinary projects to life. Facilities include printmaking, screen printing, sewing, quilting, and bookbinding. Visit for more information.
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