Take a class with SAL - anywhere! I’ve been using the words “woodblock” and “woodcut” interchangeably, but I noticed some artists use woodblock to delineate a different type of printmaking. I keep getting confused about which is which, but everyone still knows what I’m talking about. Since my own ignorance is itching at me, I gave it a scratch and looked up how woodblock and woodcut differed.I’m seeing a lot of conflicting uses of woodcut and woodblock amongst artists. Some use woodcut and woodblock interchangeably, as I have been. There is also the verb/noun of “cut” and “block” some people take. There’s still another differentiation, and this I think is what I’ve been looking for. Correct me if I’m wrong, but here’s my best first stab at it: WoodcutWoodcuts are a form of relief printing in which a block of wood is carved, leaving the raised image. In relief printing, the ink is applied to the raised areas, and that is pressed onto the paper.In general, Asian printmaking styles use transparent water based inks and apply them to the block with brushes, then print on the paper by hand pressing with a baren. The Asian application produces soft blended effects, similar to watercolor paintings.One of Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mt FujiIn contrast, European printmakers uses oil based inks, and print with a press. The European’s oil based inks are usually opaque, and are printed with strong clear shapes. The ink is applied with a brayer, and most European woodcut prints are made with black ink on white paper.Both the Asian and the European styles are woodcut prints.WoodblockWith the first woodblock techniques originating in China, woodblock printmaking refers to the specific type of printmaking that artists in Asia practice. The example of woodblock printmaking I’m most familiar with are the Japanese: the later period of Ukio-e printmakers such as Hokusai and Hiroshige. After the “key” block is printed for outlines, translucent water-based colors are applied to the woodblock plates with brushes, and the sections of colors are printed in layers and can be overlapped, allowing much more complexity of color than European woodcuts. So, if all the information above is true, or even if some of the information above is true, we are listing our classes with casually understood, but incorrect terminology. However, I might just keep it that way because it’s possible the vocabulary is changing to become more casual. I have seen many references online to woodblock, not woodcut, printmaking as the catch-all word. And, within the cosmos of the internet, our classes are easier to find with the more common-use term “woodblock.” So we’ll see how it goes.Ruthie teaches art classes at Seattle Artist League. Click here to sign up for drawing, painting, pottery, and more!