You know how seeing something striking or impressive makes you stop? Well that's what happened when I came across the work of Andy English, a Wood Engraver living in Cambridgeshire, England. Andy's beautiful wood engravings of wildlife, gardens and children are inspired by the Fenland region where he lives. After spending time looking at Andy's impressive body of work, I emailed him for permission to show some of his wood engravings here. Andy was very gracious in his reply and I am very pleased to show some of his work.
Andy English is a full-time professional engraver. He does illustrations, designs for wine labels, images for use on Wedding stationary and bookplates - which are a specialty. (His website is recommended by Beesker as Britain's best website for buying bookplates) He has a special interest in fine press and handmade books and occasionally produces his own. Currently on his website for sale is a beautiful book, 25 Bookplates, a gathering of twenty five of Andy's engraved bookplates. It has been printed from the original engraved blocks on a 1865 Albion handpress. The books were hand bound and signed by the artist in an edition of 150 copies.
I used to mix up wood engraving and woodcuts, but they are two different forms of relief printmaking. The wood blocks used for woodcuts are cut lengthwise on the grain of wood. For wood engraving, the blocks are cut across the grain. This enables the engraver to cut easily through the wood, not having the grain to cut across. It also allows for much finer detail. The wood engraver uses different tools and wood than the woodcutter does and the net results are wholly different. Types of wood used for engraving are usually boxwood or lemonwood. The wood blocks used in engraving are typically not very big, ranging from 2" x 3" to 9" x 12". Andy shows a work in progress on his website that is helpful in understanding this art form.
Andy states on his website that "My work is unashamedly rural, autobiographical and traditional." I think when people are inspired by what is around them, a very strong sense of design can come out of that. I also think when that is coupled with fine artistry, the results can be spectacular, like the wood engravings of Andy English.
You can go to Andy's website here - www.andyenglish.com
You can go to Andy's blog here - studiodiary.blogspot.com