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Ink Drawing - Pigs

Many Pigs

The discerning viewer will note similarities in this drawing and the earlier block prints.

That's because this ink drawing is the model or design of the block print. Although some block print artists will carve their images and designs on the block from scratch (no joke intended) it is also common to draw the picture on the block and then carve away the areas where you want the paper to show through.

Although the fact is not widely appreciated, if you see a print by a famous artist, he or she may not have done the carving themselves. In fact in the olden days, when woodblock printing was the only practical method to produce illustrations for books, that was the usual modus operandi. Winslow Homer, for instance, did not do his own carving for his prints. What shocks! shocks! even more connoiseurs of fine prints is that the famous Japanese print artist Katsushika Hokusai (whose The Great Wave off Kanagawa has become the iconic block print) did none of the carving or printing himself.

Now that doesn't mean all of the print artists turn all the hard work over to specialists in wood carving. As far as the author has determined, Rockwell Kent did his own carving. Or at least he hasn't found any references to the contrary.