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This article is from November 19, 2003, and is no longer current.

Painter How-to: Coloring Woodcuts

This story is taken from “The Painter 8 WOW! Book.”

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Among the many artistic effects in Painter’s bag of tricks is the ability to add subtle coloration to ordinary drawings. One way to do so is shown here, where artist Chet Phillips transforms a black-and-white woodcut into a sepia-toned masterpiece.

The technique involves several steps — including turning black lines into brown strokes, converting white areas into transparent windows, and adding a textured background. Then Phillips uses Painter’s natural media tools — Nice Surface paper and Artists Pastel Chalk — to colorize the critters.

The result is a subtly toned, natural-looking woodcut worthy of hanging in an Adirondack Mountain lodge. Best of all, no chisels were required.

We’ve posted this excerpt as a PDF file. All you do is click this link “Coloring A Woodcut” to open the PDF file in your Web browser. You can also download the PDF to your machine for later viewing.

To open the PDF, you’ll need a full version of Adobe Acrobat (4 or higher) or the Adobe Reader, which you can download here:


To learn how to configure your browser for viewing PDF files, see the Adobe Reader tech support page.

Excerpted from “The Painter 8 WOW! Book” © 2004 Cher Threinen-Pendarvis. Reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Peachpit Press. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.